SVSU-supported health clinic receives major grant

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The Bay Community Health Clinic, staffed by students from SVSU and other universities, was awarded a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund worth $352,000 over a two-year period.

The money will be used to support curriculum enhancement along with services for addiction recovery.

“We treat for anxiety and depression (at the Bay Community Health Clinic), but when we found out patients also had substance abuse disorders, we had nowhere to send them for treatment,” said Kathleen Schachman, the Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing. “Not only are we bringing substance treatment to the clinic, but we are also weaving substance use into the curriculum.”

The Michigan Health Endowment fund requested proposals that dealt with substance use treatment with a focus on the elderly population. Jill Innes, Kathleen Schachman, and Matthew Mitchell constructed the grant, which took a month to write.

This fall, the clinic will begin to integrate an inter-professional team to attack addiction recovery, with full services officially starting on Jan. 1, 2019.

Collectively as a clinic, the aim is to take better care of those with substance abuse disorders. The grant provided funding to partner with Recovery Pathways, which is an addiction recovery treatment center located in Essexville.

“We will be doing state-of-the-art treatment for a vulnerable population, which will be a benefit to both the community and students,” said assistant professor of social work Matthew Mitchell. “At SVSU, we try to promote inter-professional education throughout social work, nursing, and occupational therapy, and I’m excited that we are able to involve our three major health components in this process.”

Bay Community Health Clinic was developed by SVSU and has been located within the Bay County Health Department since 2015. The clinic is comprised of nursing, social work, health science, and occupational therapy students from SVSU. There are also pharmacy students from Ferris State and social work students from both MSU and Wayne State.

A primary goal of the clinic is to promote an inter-professional approach that brings a fresh perspective to substance abuse disorders. The team consists of a physician or nurse practitioner that prescribes medication assisted treatment, a peer recovery coach, and a substance use counselor.

The team’s approach has shown significant success in helping people recover from their addictions.

“This is a new concept because we are using an inter-professional approach for a vulnerable population, which will benefit the community immensely,” Mitchell said. “We are trying to keep these patients in remission, and we will be able to help the overlooked elderly population with dependency issues.”

The team from Recovery Pathways will now be partnering with the primary care center from Bay Community Health Clinic. There will be behavioral health interventions for those who are primarily age 60 and up. Most treatment centers focus on a younger population, leaving those of the older demographic.

Over a two-year period, the goal is to provide recovery support and addiction services to 200 people over the age of 60, while eventually becoming self-sustaining in order to continue providing services. The target area is the Tri-Cities and the northern Lower Peninsula, which are underserved by recovery centers.

“This will bring a much-needed service to a population of people with unique needs, and whose needs are not being met currently,” Schachman said. “I think it brings an extremely important service to these people, and also improves upon their quality of life.”

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