The University Record, May 8, 2000

City recognizes nurse-managed health care center

By Amy Reyes
News and Information Services

Joan Kellenberg (standing), a family nurse practitioner, with Elmira Collins, the community outreach coordinator at the Community Family Health Center on Ann Arbor’s west side. Photo by Rebecca A. Doyle
The Community Family Health Center (CFHC) in Ann Arbor offers a holistic approach to health care that has been embraced by residents of the city’s west side. The nurse-managed health care center treats the whole person, not just the illness—a concept that has been welcomed by hundreds of people who have sought care there since the center opened in 1997.

The City of Ann Arbor recently recognized the center by proclaiming May 6 “Community Family Health Center Day,” also marking the start of National Nurses Week (May 6–12).

“Ann Arbor has been very supportive of the Community Family Health Center. We’re grateful for their support and the recognition,” says Elaine McIntosh, director of both the Community Family Health Center and the North Campus Family Health Services center.

While the North Campus center is exclusively operated by the School of Nursing, the CFHC is a joint operation of the nursing school and the Health System’s Department of Nursing. The centers rely on two Community Advisory Boards to determine the type of services clients need, which include everything from traditional health care services to support for domestic violence survivors.

“Our goal is to improve the quality of life of our clients. Because we are holistic in our nursing approach, we know what else is going on in the lives of our patients and work to keep their support and safety net strong. We have a community outreach coordinator and a social worker to keep us in touch with members of the community for ongoing input,” McIntosh notes.

The North Campus Family Health Services clinic was begun in 1991 by Linda Daniel, an associate professor emerita of nursing. A training ground for students in community health, it originally operated as a drop-in center for mothers and children, and eventually became a primary health care clinic mostly serving international graduate students and their families.

The CFHC opened in 1997 to extend services to residents of Ann Arbor’s west side, where a significant number of people are uninsured or underinsured. Approximately 30 percent of Ann Arbor residents who earn less than $30,000 per year live on the city’s west side. The median income in Ann Arbor is $68,100.

The centers are funded through insurance reimbursement for services, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the School of Nursing, and local and state grants. The city of Ann Arbor’s Office of Development awarded CFHC a $5,000 grant.

Frequent questions

What is a nurse practitioner? Nurse practitioners are registered nurses whose formal education and clinical training extend beyond the basic nursing licensure requirements. They are trained to diagnose and recommend treatment for common acute illnesses, disease prevention, management of chronic illnesses and a host of other primary care services. The nurse practitioners at North Campus Family Health Services and Community Family Health Center are authorized M-CARE primary care providers.

How do nurse-managed health centers differ from traditional clinics? Nurse-managed health care centers differ from traditional clinics in that they emphasize prevention and health promotion, along with treating acute and chronic illness. Studies show that nurse-managed clinics are cost-efficient and patient satisfaction is high.