ETSU Community Health Centers receive $6 million in grant funding

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a federal grant totaling more than $6 million over three years for the East Tennessee State University Community Health Centers.

Managed by the ETSU College of Nursing, the Community Health Centers are a network of nurse-managed practice sites that provide health care and outreach visits to underserved clients in the upper northeast Tennessee region. 

The four, non-profit community health center sites include Johnson City Community Health Center, Johnson City Downtown Day Center, Hancock County Elementary School Based Health Center and Hancock County Middle/High School Based Health Center.

“These community health centers give badly needed access to primary care for those who have limited means,” said Dr. Patricia Vanhook, associate dean for practice and community partnerships for ETSU’s College of Nursing. “The grant funds will help to support our mission of providing care for the underserved and underinsured of our region, including the homeless population.”

The Community Health Centers make health care more accessible by providing transportation and medication, as well as offering specialty services.

In 2018, the four ETSU Community Health Centers had 24,138 visits from 7,044 patients. The HHS grant totals $2,063,388 per year for three years, without conditions. The funding will allow the sites to continue and expand their work. 

The services offered through the Community Health Centers cover a variety of health care needs. For example, the Johnson City Community Health Center (JCCHC) is a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facility offering primary care, women’s health/OB, behavioral health, radiology and dental services. It also has an in-house charitable pharmacy and a lab. 

Operating as a satellite clinic of JCCHC, The Johnson City Downtown Day Center is a safe place for street and shelter homeless individuals to go during the day to receive essential services such as medical and mental health clinics, trauma and substance use disorder groups, washer/dryer services, shower services and a clothes closet. 

There are two community health centers in Hancock County – one located at Hancock Elementary School and the other at Hancock Middle/High School. These clinics offer primary care, urgent care and mental health services to students and the community. In January, the Hancock County Elementary Clinic received a $100,000 Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) grant to expand square footage in order to serve more patients.  

“We were thrilled to receive the HRSA grant for Hancock County in January, and now this grant of more than $6 million for all four sites will allow us to continue to provide optimal care throughout northeast Tennessee,” said Dr. Wendy Nehring, dean of ETSU’s College of Nursing. “We are grateful to receive these funds and for the support of Rep. Phil Roe, who is a strong advocate for our Community Health Centers.”

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