Vital Signs Volume 13, Issue 2 | Page 7

Dr . Stites at the ribbon cutting
Smoketown residents better , Dr . Stites said she expected some push back . It never came .
“ I participate in the neighborhood association , the back to school events . We try to attend every community organization that we can . We want these residents to see our faces and know that the community matters to us . We ’ re here and present ,” she said . “ They ’ ve been very patient . We ’ ve been saying we ’ re coming for a long time .”
Preparation , planning , building and partnering : this project has been a labor of love for all who took part . There was staffing to consider , renovation , credentialing and licensure , not to mention all the community partnerships necessary to truly make the SFWC run as it should .
After a seemingly endless sowing of seeds , the organization may now begin to bear fruit . For a community forgotten for too long , there are numerous avenues in which a wellness center may change lives . The SFWC will improve health outcomes by addressing numerous lifestyle factors in a single setting . Among the services provided are :
• Children ’ s medical care including immunizations , physicals , asthma management , ADHD care , medical visits and more .
• Educational classes on topics as varied as exercise , nutrition , parenting , financial literacy and smoking cessation .
• Partnerships with charitable organizations such as New Roots and Dare to Care will allow families in need access to healthy food .
• A partnership with the Louisville Metro Public Library to provide book checkouts and story time for children .
Located at 760 South Hancock Street , in the heart of the Sheppard Square housing development , the SFWC is positioned for ease of access . More than 300 children live within a two-block radius of the building . Dr . Stites herself will practice pediatrics in the new facility .
The SFWC will include multiple examination rooms and a complete clinical station .
pace . Our model has us for the first couple of months seeing two to four kids medically each day , then a gradual increase ,” Dr . Stites said , noting that a pediatric resident will soon join the practice as well .
As the clinical aspect takes off , the SFWC will be focusing on building community health resources . Part of that is learning , in detail , the needs of the area . The first time a family visits the SFWC , they ’ ll speak with a family coach to address their strengths , ( the coach is a social worker by training ). Her position is funded for three years by a generous grant from the Lift A Life Foundation – allowing the SFWC to provide these services without worry of how to pay for them .
“ We want to normalize the idea that mental and behavioral health is just as essential as physical health . Our family coach will ask each family things like ‘ What ’ s working well for you ? Where are you strong ? Where do you need help and what would you like to start with ?’ We want to put each family in control .”
The SFWC has short term goals of decreased emergency department usage , increased vaccination rates and improvement in asthma control . Long term , the Smoketown Family Wellness Center may be a model that other at-risk neighborhoods can adapt to their own needs .
“ This model is only as good as what we all bring to it ,” Dr . Stites said . “ It ’ s a model of collaboration and co-creation which requires each of us to bring what we have to offer . In this historical building , in this beautiful space where we feel the presence of Smoketown past , let ’ s all work together to give these kids the ability to achieve their highest dreams and enjoy 10 extra years .”
At the grand opening , Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith congratulated Dr . Stites and encouraged her to keep moving forward with her dream .
“ Dr . Charlotte , my hats off to you . You ’ ve done it . One step at a time , one person at a time , and now it will be one child at a time .”
“ We anticipate a very slow , gentle start . This is a grassroots
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