Weekend clinic brings hundreds of outer East folks better health

INCLUDES VIDEO VIGNETTE Here’s how this year’s ‘Impact Your Health Portland’ Clinic allowed many – who otherwise couldn’t afford it – to get medical, dental, and vision care …

In the Portland Adventist Academy gym, in the Hazelwood neighborhood of outer East Portland – and here taking the temperatures of those who enter – we met Walla Walla University School of Nursing, junior year BSN student, Anelise Deladega.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Every other year, the free “Impact Your Health Portland” (IYHP) clinic has set up in August to offer medical, dental, and vision services to those in need – in and around Portland Adventist Academy, located just west of Adventist Medical Center.

When last an IYHP event was offered, back in 2018, East Portland News covered it. The next clinic was scheduled for 2020 – but was cancelled, twice, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Volunteer Anisha Hughes checks a patient into this year’s IYHP clinic.

Dentists, eye doctors, and physicians are on hand to provide free medical care to those who need it, without cost.

“We’re all happy to be back this year, to provide services to our community again,” assured Public Relations Coordinator, and Walla Walla University student communications intern, Adam Kenji Nakamura.

“The IYHP clinic was created to offer free healthcare services to the uninsured and the  homeless, as well as to refugees, immigrants, and those unable to cover their insurance co-pays,” Nakamura explained.

Here pausing for a photo are IYHP clinic o-coordinators Jenny Jin NP, and Brenda Duerksen RN.

Jenny Jin, a Nurse Practitioner at Kaiser cardiology, an IYHP co-coordinator who we’ve met in the past, walked up to say hello.

“We also have the COVID-19 vaccines this year; both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines, so we can cover all ages,” informed Jin.

Generally, the Friday clinic day – which was the day we reported this story – has a lighter patient load than does their Sunday clinic, Jin remarked. “Because we’re not being overwhelmed today, we’re able to give people who come more comprehensive, personal care in dental and vision and medical services – all in the same day.”

-5 Dr. Mark Allard Miller, D.M.D., M.A.G.D., Assistant Professor in Restorative Dentistry at OHSU School of Dentistry oversees clinicians filling a cavity during the clinic. “This is a tremendous opportunity for students to get out and provide healthcare to the needy part of our population,” he says.

Complete services offered, on-site
The services provided, Jin said, go way beyond just doing a quick evaluation and handing the patient a pamphlet. “Our volunteer clinicians actually provide services here, at this location.”

Specifically, those services include:

  • Medical – Exam, advice and referrals, as well as sports physicals and health education, plus diabetes and hypertension screening;
  • Dental – Tooth cleaning, restorations, fillings, extractions and crowns; and,
  • Vision – Comprehensive Eye exam, free prescription glasses, and eye health information.

Thomas Gibbs, OD from NW Permanente uses a phoropter while doing a refraction on a patient – who then will be given new eyeglasses after the exam.

Representatives of CareOregon and Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) provide information to visitors about the health care and services available to them.

Jin pointed out that representatives of multiple community resources were present, just outside the building under canopies.

“We have people from both CareOregon and Adventist Medical Center here to help clients navigate getting continuing health care, after they leave here today. We also have health coaching, to help people stay healthy and avoid getting sick with the COVID-19 coronavirus,” Jin said.

One of the incidental-but-appreciated services IYHP has offered since 2016 is free haircuts, provided here by hairstylist Teresa Sheets of Define’d Lines Salon in Gresham, to client Tien.

At the Friday and Sunday clinic, a total of 350 professional and clerical volunteers arrived to help, explained Jin.

Although it’s clear that the IYHP clinic is a service of the Seventh-day Adventist church, spokesperson Nakamura pointed out, “The people who come here do not have to listen to a sermon, read a book, or be affiliated with any kind of church; we welcome everyone who comes in the doors.

IYHP Public Relations Coordinator Adam Nakamura, says services are freely offered to all as a way of helping their community.

“Many times, I think, there is a stereotype of churches being exclusive; but actually we do this to be inclusive – to support everyone’s needs and our entire community,” Nakamura continued. All the volunteers show up with a common goal in mind: helping others and connecting with people.”

In total, this year’s clinic helped 435 people to improved health.

>> On our Front Page: Dr. Charles Bong, OD examines a patient’s retina at this year’s IYHP clinic.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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