Renovations are underway at the Boykin Community Center in Northwest Auburn to develop an interprofessional medical clinic.
Last year, the Auburn City Council approved an agreement with the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy to create and run the clinic in the Community Center.
Al Davis, community service director for the Boykin Community Center, said when the clinic is finished it will benefit the community in many different ways.
The project has been in the works for a long time but construction is hoped to be completed in the beginning of spring, Davis said.
“Everybody is excited about the clinic coming,” Davis said. “It is wonderful to have something like this in this part of town.”
The Community Center already provides many resources to the public, and the opening of this clinic will only further aid those who frequently visit the center, Davis said.
“Having the clinic in this part of the community and having it accessible to those who are already coming in and out of the building is vital,” Davis said. “We have the senior center, the boys and girls club, daycare and other recreational activities. So I think that synergy is already there, but adding the clinic just provides another major service.”
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The clinic is meant to attend to those in the community who struggle with their insurance coverage. It also will act as a measure to prevent citizens from dealing with further medical expenses, Davis said.
“Even those who have insurance, a lot of them are underinsured,” Davis said. “Healthcare is still a very big problem for all, even those who have jobs and especially to those who are unemployed. So having a facility over here that could help provide some of those services that could maybe prevent you from having to go to the doctor could be the difference. Because a lot of the education programs that have come along with the clinic are preventative in nature.”
The pharmacy students have had previous experience working in clinics similar to the one in Boykin. Many of the students already work within the center, Davis said.
The Boykin Center also houses many centers for citizens in the area and provides programs such as basketball and aikido classes in their gymnasium.
Greg Pedan, executive director of Clinical Health Services at the Harrison School of Pharmacy, said the students in the school are going to be the staff within this clinic. They are hoping to bring something new, but also needed, to the center.
“It is in an area where they have a good need for it, and we hope we can provide services that are currently unmet in the community,” Pedan said.
Pharmacy school staff is hoping the clinic can be more than a pharmacy in the Boykin Center. They hope the clinic will eventually evolve into a varied center that will target a wide range of health needs, Pedan said.
“It will be an interdisciplinary clinic, so we hope to have students and faculty from the School of Pharmacy, nursing, even dietetics or kinesiology,” Pedan said. “Whatever disciplines and schools are willing to come and help — that’s who we hope to have.”
The expansion of the center is dependent on what will best serve the area, said Matt Crouch, manager of communications and marketing for the pharmacy school.
“The space for the clinic is about 2,000 square feet with four exam rooms and a pharmacy,” Crouch said. “The hope is that it will provide basic services at first, with the end goal of it being full-service. An important goal of the City when renovating the center was seeing how it could improve the community, which is why we have the child center and the senior center.”
Crouch said the school already has groups of students working in clinics in underserved communities throughout Alabama, including in homeless shelters in Mobile.
“So the concept of this clinic was already there,” Crouch said. “But now that it’s under the wing of the school, it just takes it to a more professional level. We are taking things we are already doing in the community and giving it a permanent home, and with that home we can really ramp up the services we are providing.”
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