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August 23, 2010

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KU's Silver City clinic extends health care to low-income communities

Tucked away in an unassuming building in Kansas City, Kan., is a health care clinic that provides medical services to those who otherwise could not afford them.

There are no bells and whistles at Silver City Health Center in the Argentine neighborhood. But there is a wealth of care provided by a compassionate health care staff. Silver City Health Center is a nonprofit safety-net clinic managed by KU Health Partners, a clinical enterprise operated by the KU School of Nursing and School of Allied Health. Safety-net clinics comprise a network of health care facilities that provide primary care and chronic care services to the uninsured and underinsured.

To help Silver City Health Center continue its mission of helping others, three foundations have given gifts to KU Endowment totaling $450,000. The REACH Healthcare Foundation of Merriam provided $100,000; the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich., contributed $150,000; and the Sunflower Foundation: Health Care for Kansans of Topeka gave $200,000.

The Sunflower Foundation: Health Care for Kansans is a philanthropic organization with the mission to serve as a catalyst for improving the health of Kansans.

Mary Virden, administrator of Silver City, said the funds will help support daily operations and expand hours of operation, which will improve access to care for the clinic’s diverse patient population.

“We are thrilled with the support from the REACH Healthcare Foundation, Sunflower Foundation and Kresge Foundation,” Virden said. “Safety-net clinics like Silver City Health Center are a critical component of the health care system because they serve patients who are otherwise unable to afford or access care.”

Virden said private support is critical to Silver City. Patient fees cover only about 10 percent of the clinic’s operating expenses. The clinic’s team includes a multicultural and multilingual staff to best meet the needs of a diverse population.

Additional funding from the REACH Healthcare Foundation will provide support for three KU entities.

— JayDoc Free Clinic, $36,000. Students from the School of Medicine run the clinic in Kansas City, Kan. It is staffed by volunteer physicians and residents who are assisted by first- through fourth-year medical students. The clinic serves the uninsured and underinsured.

— School of Social Welfare, $33,000. KU social work students spend part of their practica at middle schools in Kansas City, Kan., where they help educate students about mental health services.

— Project EAGLE, $90,000. This KU Medical Center program provides comprehensive child development and family support services to children and families in Wyandotte County. The REACH gift will be used to hire a nurse practitioner to staff the onsite medical clinic at the Children’s Campus.


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