Clarkston Community Health Center will be recognized as an organization in which the staff and community work together as a team to continuously improve patient care through a holistic approach in which the patient becomes a partner in health maintenance and disease prevention thereby enhancing their quality of life.
The Mission of CCHC is to establish a state-of-the-art, culturally and linguistically competent primary and preventive healthcare facility to provide quality, affordable, accessible and comprehensive health care services to the residents of DeKalb and surrounding counties.
History & Background
Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC), founded in May 2013, is a non-profit 501c(3) clinic that provides a patient-centered medical home for low-income residents of the City of Clarkston and surrounding communities. CCHC was founded by Mr. Saeed Raees, Late Rev. Ben Johnson and Dr. Gulshan Harjee to establish a health center for uninsured and underinsured individuals in metro Atlanta. After a lengthy search the group was able to find an office space to sub-lease in the heart of Clarkston. In February 2015, CCHC began providing a much-needed medical care that is culturally and linguistically sensitive for the diverse population of Clarkston. In August 2015 CCHC expanded its services to include Mental Health services and in October of 2015 CCHC established an onsite Pharmacy by becoming an authorized site for Dispensary of Hope. In April of 2016 we began our dental clinic where we provide oral x-rays/exams, cleaning and tooth extractions. Now our services include health screenings, preventive/primary, mental vision and dental healthcare coupled with free laboratory diagnostics and prescription medicines for the refugee, indigent, underinsured and uninsured population of Clarkston and surrounding communities.
CCHC has established strong collaborative partnerships with Emory University, Mercer University, Clayton State University and University of North Georgia. Emory University Medical, Nurse Practitioner and Nursing students rotate through our clinic on a regular basis. Emory University Ophthalmology Department holds a vision clinic once a month and free glasses are provided in partnership with Lions Club. We provide valuable experience to the Nurse Practitioner (NP) students from University of North Georgia, who has recently started to manage our clinic on Fridays from 9am to 5pm.
CCHC has partnered with top-ranking medical programs in the greater Atlanta area including Emory University Healthcare, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University School of Medicine, Emory University School of Nursing, and Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.
CCHC has recently partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to develop the CCHC Quality Improvement (QI) Team. This inter-professional team works with CCHC staff to ensure that patients receive the best care possible when visiting the clinic.
This year June, we started a Women’s Health Initiative at our clinic. In collaboration with Emory Medical School we have conducted an extensive survey of our women patients, specifically focusing on refugees and recent immigrants in the community. DeKalb Medical in Decatur, GA is the closest hospital to Clarkston and we have established a relationship with them where DeKalb will provide low cost services for routine mammogram screening and MRIs utilizing hospital facilities and their mobile unit. The have also agreed to provide us low cost unilateral ultrasounds and biopsies and a patient navigator for the patients when needed.
We have recently received 2 small grants for operational purposes. One grant is from Akers Foundation ($10K) for establishing development programs for the clinic and the other one is from Georgia Charitable Care Network (~$10K) for supporting our expansion plans.
Clarkston Georgia is a major refugee resettlement area located just outside of the city of Atlanta. Refugee resettlement activity in this area has grown rapidly since the late 1980s due to its close location to a major city, access to the public transportation (MARTA), and an abundance of affordable housing. According to the 2000 census, the foreign born population hails from over 50 countries (spanning 6 continents) within this 1.1 square mile enclave, leading TIME magazine to refer to Clarkston as the “most diverse square mile in America”. In 2009, the foreign born population of this area was estimated to be 31.8% compared to the State of Georgia average of 7.1%.
Poverty resulting from unemployment/underemployment is a major challenge in this culturally and linguistically diverse area. 75% of Clarkston’s population is either African-American or recently arrived refugee. Between 2009 and 2013, the poverty rate in Clarkston doubled from 16% to 32%. Among foreign-born residents, the poverty rate rises to an astonishing 56%. 1 in 2 of every child in Clarkston lives below the poverty line. Not surprisingly, Georgia has an uninsured rate comparable to our high poverty rate. Georgia ranks 7th in the nation in poverty and 6th in the nation in uninsured individuals. Research is clear that uninsured populations have the greatest health disparities.
Due to a recent influx of refugees and indigent individuals and families into the Clarkston area, there is limited access to high quality medical care. Our population is diverse and poor, between 2009 and 2013, the poverty rate in Clarkston doubled from 16% to 32%. Among foreign-born residents, the poverty rate rises to an astonishing 56%, 1 in 2 of every child in Clarkston lives below the poverty line. CCHC provides free "state of the art" healthcare services in the Clarkston area to low-income and refugee residents.