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Expanding Healthcare for Appalachia’s Neediest

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Expanding healthcare for Appalachia’s neediest:

Space for Free Medical Clinic
The neediest in Appalachian coal country can find an occasional helping hand from medical professionals willing to donate their services.  Folks near Williamson, West Virginia are still signing up for free help once a month from Dr. Donovan Beckett and his team.  His scheduler says January’s clinic day is already completely booked.
Community leaders know this effort is just not enough to fill the need, so they’re making plans for expanding to a federally funded clinic in office space donated by the doctor.  Eric Mathis with the JOBS Project says the clinic has received a planning grant so the community can spend 2012 organizing and applying for larger grants to run the clinic for a decade.  The hope is for $650,000 per year to provide medical services to those who can’t afford them.
Solar Arrays Atop
Williamson, WV Clinic
Plans already in the works include space for five medical exam rooms and a solar array atop the building to provide some renewable energy.  In an area where about a third of adults go without health insurance, where obesity, poverty and unemployment is high, the clinic plans to address not only health problems, but preventive services.  Mathis stresses that the clinic is an important part of a larger community system that includes supporting local agriculture and promoting healthier lifestyles.  For instance, he’s hopeful about fruit from local orchards helping feed students this year at a Williamson school.

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