Tulsa's north side gets new health center site
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Monday, September 10, 2012
9/10/12 at 7:06 AM
The Tulsa Health Department now has a permanent presence in the city's north side with last week's soft open of the North Regional Health and Wellness Center.
Ground was broken on the 30,000 square foot building two years ago this month but the concept began about five years ago when Health Department leaders began examining the health disparities of the residents of north Tulsa.
They looked at life expectancy, access to care and health indicators like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
"Residents that lived in this part of town were dying from these diseases more so than other people in town," said Reggie Ivey, chief operating officer of the department.
This $8.2 million building at 5635 N. Cincinnati Ave. is the first the Health Department has built. Its grand opening will be Sept. 29. Half of the funding came from public and private sources while the other half was through a bond issue.
Tulsa City Councilman Jack Henderson, whose district includes the new building, said it is needed in the community.
"It's an exciting time and a long-awaited time," he said. "I think the community is really going to be able to use it," he said.
Part of the building is dedicated to the community, with a classroom that has a demonstration kitchen in the back and three conference rooms that will be offered free to community members who are doing programs that involve health.
There is also a large multipurpose room that can be used for exercise classes. There is an onsite Zumba instructor and there are plans for karate classes, Ivey said.
These classes would be free to the public at least initially, he said.
"We want to make the healthy choice the easy choice for them," he said.
An Oklahoma State University Physicians clinic is also housed at the center and plans to begin seeing patients Oct. 1.
It has seven exam rooms, a procedure room and a laboratory. There are plans for an X-ray room as well, Ivey said.
"I think that's going to be an excellent partnership," he said.
Dr. Regina Lewis, assistant professor of family medicine at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, will be stationed at the clinic along with a nurse practitioner and one or two nurses.
Having a doctor nearby is important for patients, particularly for those with chronic conditions. When the doctor is hard to get to, patients sometimes run out of medication or cancel appointments, she said.
"It's very important to be able to have your doctor right there and be able to see them when they (patients) have chronic conditions," she said.
Also, patients can easily be referred to services offered across the hall by the Health Department, she said.
Residents of north Tulsa need more doctors and more primary care doctors in particular, she said.
"We just hope that they welcome our presence and take full advantage of it," she said.
Kenitra Jeffers rode the bus to the clinic for a WIC appointment last week. It took 10 minutes to get to the center but it would have taken only about 5 minutes if a family member or friend had driven her.
She said she was glad to have the resources she needed near where she lives.
"It's so close," she said.
The area does have another local source for health care. The University of Oklahoma Wayman Tisdale Specialty Health Clinic at 36th Street North and Hartford Avenue opened in July and has some services available. It will be offering more specialty services early next year.
The Health Department building has a main waiting room that seats 32 people, along with a waiting room just for men and one just for children. The WIC program and the OSU clinic also have separate waiting rooms.
The WIC program has its own section with four exam rooms. The WIC waiting room also has a breast feeding room.
The building also houses several prevention programs, including tobacco cessation, drug abuse counseling and programs to combat teen pregnancy and infant mortality.
There are also two immunization rooms and three rooms for well woman exams, family planning, and breast and cervical cancer screenings.
Tulsa Health Department North Regional Health and Wellness Center grand opening
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 29 at 5635 N. Cincinnati Ave.
Original Print Headline: Healthy solutions
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378
Lana McBee, a registered nurse, works in the new Tulsa Health Department North Regional Health and Wellness Center in north Tulsa last week. Its grand opening will be Sept. 29. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Reggie Ivey leads a tour of the new North Regional Health and Wellness Center in north Tulsa. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
The new North Regional Health and Wellness Center in north Tulsa will give the Tulsa Health Department a permanent presence in north Tulsa. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
A conference room looks out at a children's playground at the new North Regional Health and Wellness Center in north Tulsa. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World