Local health advocates will host a community conversation Feb. 15 on what residents want to see in a community health space at World Medical Relief, 21725 Melrose Ave.

Local health advocates will host a community conversation Feb. 15 on what residents want to see in a community health space at World Medical Relief, 21725 Melrose Ave.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Conversation on new community health center planned

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 6, 2019


SOUTHFIELD — Residents will soon have the chance to tell local health care officials what they would like to see in a new community health center.

A community conversation open to all Southfield residents — as well as anyone who lives, works or worships in the city — is slated for 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at World Medical Relief, 21725 Melrose Ave.

Residents will be asked what they would like to see at a new community health center located at World Medical Relief.

World Medical Relief is an international humanitarian organization that takes donations of medical supplies and disperses them internationally. It also offers affordable prescription programs, as well as a pacemaker recycling center.

The center will be run in an “exploratory partnership” with Honor Community Health, which is, according to its website, a Human Resources and Services Administration-qualified community health center that provides primary and behavior health care and dental care throughout Oakland County, with a location in Southfield.

World Medical Relief Director of Development and Community Affairs Josephine Jabara said health leaders are hoping for some insight on what Southfielders may want to see done with the space.

“We want to find out what the biggest challenges are in people’s lives to be healthy, become healthy and manage their chronic illnesses,” Jabara said. “We really want to get credible information out of this, and it’s so important that people show up and speak, because hopefully we can use the information to plan what’s going to happen with the space we’ve set aside for the community.”

Jabara said the space is equipped for examination and meeting rooms, as well as potential educational space.

“But we don’t want to just start building stuff, because we really want to be precise. We’d like to offer something that’s not there yet, and it might be connecting people to services that are already there,” she said. “We’re just trying to figure this out.”

There are a few options that would be viable for the space, though, Jabara said.

“A dental clinic — that would be one option, but the options are unlimited. We could have healthy eating workshops and bring in other partners that are specialized in that,” she said. “We want to be efficient and utilize what’s out there already.”

Scott Stewart, a partnership and development manager at Honor Community Health, said that based on data, a dental clinic would be a great addition to the space.

“Some things we know are missing in Southfield are dental services,” Stewart said. “We are really excited to hear people’s stories and how people may have faced access issues. The personal stories are going to help move that forward.”

While dental services could be an option, Stewart said officials are open to any and all suggestions.

“We are waiting for the community conversation so we can have kind of a grassroots connection with residents, local businesses and churches. We like getting to hear from churches, because churches are usually where people are willing to tell what’s going on in their lives and where people have the strongest connection,” he said.

Based on what they hear during the conversation, there could be more opportunities for Southfielders to sound off, Jabara said.

“I think we will analyze what everybody is saying and see if we need another conversation,” she said.

For more information, call World Medical Relief at (313) 866-5333.