UAB School of Nursing reopens health clinic at The Foundry

UAB School of Nursing opens once-closed clinic, offering Bessemer community and The Foundry’s residents affordable care

foundry_sThe University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing has acquired the health clinic at The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center in Bessemer and began seeing patients – both residents of The Foundry and members of the community in need of health care – July 1, 2013.

The reopening of the clinic, renamed the UAB School of Nursing Foundry Clinic, was made possible through collaborative efforts of The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center, UAB School of Nursing Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, D.S.N., R.N., and Linda Roussel, D.S.N., R.N., faculty in the School of Nursing.

“We needed to continue this service for the Bessemer community,” Selleck said. “Many in the community – not just residents at The Foundry – cannot afford health insurance or the cost of medical care, and we are privileged to be able to offer affordable health care services at our nurse-managed, community-based clinic on The Foundry’s campus for a flat fee.” Roussel pointed to the importance of collaboration in the partnership.

“Without the generous offer of space from The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center, as well as maintenance services and technology support, the school would not have had the option to resume the clinic’s operation,” Roussel said. “This would have created a critical void of healthcare services for The Foundry’s residents and the community at large.”

The clinic is staffed Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by UAB School of Nursing certified nurse practitioners, as well as faculty members Melanie Hallman, D.N.P., D’Ann Somerall, D.N.P., and Stephanie Hammond, M.S.N., and full-time medical assistant Stephanie Glasgow. Nicole Redmond, M.D., a collaborating physician, and Lori Esber, a patient-care coordinator, work in the clinic. Esber worked in the clinic before it closed in April.

The clinic provides primary care and urgent care for health concerns that might otherwise go untreated, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, for patients ages 14 and older. For an appointment, call 205-428-2810.

“A partnership has been forged out of two entities deciding to come together with a common goal and vision for reaching out to a community that needs affordable healthcare,” said Pastor Bill Heintz, executive director of The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center. “We believe this is just the beginning; together, The Foundry Ministries and the UAB School of Nursing can help make Bessemer a better place because of the good works being done.”

Daniel Phillips, a resident at The Foundry, is grateful the UAB School of Nursing reopened the clinic. He has high blood pressure and had stopped taking his medication before coming to The Foundry.

“You come into these programs obviously troubled and pretty needy, and it’s nice to know — as far as your medical needs go — that there is an answer and a place to go. As you come out of what you have gone through, most people need to clear up a lot of medical issues. The security of that not being a worry on top of all of your others is a wonderful thing. In the two or three months that we didn’t have the clinic, it was nerve-wracking for us. We’re so glad to have it back.”

“This clinic is very important,” Phillips said. “You come into these programs obviously troubled and pretty needy, and it’s nice to know — as far as your medical needs go — that there is an answer and a place to go. As you come out of what you have gone through, most people need to clear up a lot of medical issues. The security of that not being a worry on top of all of your others is a wonderful thing. In the two or three months that we didn’t have the clinic, it was nerve-wracking for us. We’re so glad to have it back.”

He said the clinic also is a blessing when the average bug starts making its way through the people who live at The Foundry.

“You’ve got 150 guys together,” he said. “If somebody has a cold, there’s going to be a lot of colds. If there’s a stomach virus, a bunch of people are going to get it. It’s great to have an affordable, convenient way to get better.”

Somerall, a family nurse practitioner, has worked in primary care at Cooper Green and said she works in the clinic because it is a calling and important to help those in need, both the residents at The Foundry and people from the surrounding areas.

“The first week we were open, we had a patient who said she called around couldn’t afford the least expensive clinic visit elsewhere,” Somerall said. “She came to us and could afford our $35 fee. After her exam, she cried and said that she felt so accepted and cared for. That is why this clinic is so important. ”

Marcus Mason, a Bessemer resident, started volunteering at The Foundry in 2008 and joined the staff in 2012 as assistant food director. He uses the clinic for his health care needs. He first came to clinic as a patient when he was volunteering because he had a cold. He was impressed and is grateful the school opened it again.

 

“The clinic impacts the community because, in this area, you have a lot of low- and fixed-income people,” he said. “Having a health clinic like this that is low cost helps them financially, and the location gives them easy access.”

Bessemer resident Jim Vines agrees.

“I’ve used the clinic the past three years,” he said. “I was so happy when UAB opened it up again. When people are looking for a new place to go, especially if they don’t have insurance and are worried they can’t find care, I tell them to come here.”

Somerall said there is also an education component to the clinic for nursing students. Students in the graduate-level nurse practitioner program will work alongside the three nurse practitioners, treating patients as they complete their training.

“Undergraduate students will shadow us,” she said. “Once they are comfortable, they perform tasks such as drawing blood and taking vital signs.”

Roussel said future plans include opening on Fridays and hosting vaccine clinics.

“The opportunities are endless,” she added. “I can see diabetic counseling, nutrition counseling, smoking cessation and other programs. The future is bright.”

 
 
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