He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything.
I chose this proverb because it exemplifies the heart of the mission for community health centers. In Virginia, there are 95 health center delivery sites, among them, the Arlandria Health Center at 2 Glebe Road in the Arlandria section of Alexandria. Operated by Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc., the facility focuses on access to primary health care and serves as an entry point into a system of care that provides comprehensive, community-based quality health care to those who have been denied access for lack of health insurance, limited financial resources, and inability to navigate the health care system.
Kristin Langlykke, RN, MSN, is the Executive Director of the Arlandria Health Center. She joined as Chief Operating Officer of Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services in 2004, and became Executive Director in February 2006. Each community needs to serve the uninsured with quality health care and no one should be turned away, Langlykke said. This is an efficient, cost effective way to provide these services and we hope to continue growing with the continuation of public and private support.
Our statistics tell our story, Langlykke continued. In Fisal Year 2007, the center saw a total of 20,673 health care visits, which was a 28 percent increase from FY 2006. Of those visits, 6,621 men, women and children received care, marking a 21 percent increase in unique visitors from the previous year. Our new building was completed in November 2005 and we have already outgrown our space. Langlykke said. We had to find some office space at Mount Vernon Square to be able to enlarge our pharmacy.
Touring the facility, it quickly become clear that every square inch of space is used. What we really need, Langlykke said, is new space, and if any of your readers know of a 20,000 square foot building in the area that might be made available, please let us know about it.
Two of the centers programs are of particular interest, one new one and one that has been in place for many years.
In January, dietitian Christina Johnston, RD, joined the staff. Christina works really hard with adults with diabetes, elevated cholesterol and other conditions that are influenced in a positive way with good nutrition and an exercise program, Langlykke explained. We are so delighted to have her.
She is a very nice addition and weve seen a great deal of progress in weight loss with our patients. Langlykke added. Children also are a major focus and Christina is partnering with the YMCA to get the children moving.
The Health Center has also introduced a donation program to provide bikes for kids. They have enough bicycles for the teens but would love to have more donations of bicycles and helmets for younger kids.
Another successful program is the Reach Out and Read Program aimed at children from six months to 5 years of age. A parent who comes into the center with a child is given a book to keep. Volunteers sometimes sit in the waiting room and read to the children to show parents the importance of reading in a childs life. More than 4,800 books have been given out since the program started. Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy via pediatric exam rooms around the country by distributing new books to children and advising parents on the importance of reading aloud. The web site is www.reachoutandread.org.
For more information on the Arlandria Health Center visit www.anhsi.org.