24 in ’24: New Needs-Base Partnerships Help IFM Community Health Clients to Thrive

IFM provides care to familes most in need. In this photo, an IFM nurse assists a young patient at its Youth and Family Center Clinic.

The number 24 has a special significance in 2024 for IFM Community Medicine, based in St. Louis. In January, it added clinic sites at two new partner organizations, bumping the total number of agency partners up to 24.

IFM’s model is based on partnerships, where other nonprofit agencies serving populations in need partner with IFM to provide essential primary health care services to their clients in an affordable, accessible, and effective way. Each clinic site is tailored to the needs of the population being served as communicated by the partner agency and its clients. The care IFM provides through this model fills gaps in health care that would otherwise be unmet.

New partner site Almost Home empowers young moms to become self-sufficient and create a better future for themselves and their children, thus breaking the cycle of poverty their residents have experienced which has often been present for multiple generations in their family. IFM’s role is to ensure a critical piece of this process is in place: the health of mom and baby.

“The Almost Home Family Health Clinic will be more accessible and convenient. Many of our young mom struggle to feel safe,” said Huvona Watkins, executive director of Almost Home. “They have experienced multiple traumas and discrimination, making it difficult for them to entrust their bodies or their children’s bodies to a stranger. By establishing a long-term relationship with a nurse practitioner, clients can build trust and a sense of safety. If necessary, Almost Home staff can remain in the room during examinations to increase comfortability.”

“The current political climate around women’s health care makes this a priority issue, especially for those traditionally underserved,” Watkins adds. “Without the barriers of cost, transportation, and mistrust, the young families we serve will increase their access to healthcare and achieve more positive health results.”

The second new site, Guardian Angel Settlement Association’s Child Development Center in St. Louis City, helps families provide the best possible start in life for children from birth to six through childcare and supportive services. IFM’s clinic will provide essential primary care including screenings, immunizations, and well/sick child visits onsite, making care significantly more convenient and accessible for families.

Both new partnerships illustrate the understanding that develops with all our partners and those they serve: when services are offered in a trusted, accessible, and affordable manner, their reach and effectiveness is heightened and lives are improved.

“It is a struggle for many of our families to keep up with immunizations, physicals, lead, hemoglobin, vision, and hearing screenings,” said Venita Oatis, senior director of early childhood education at Guardian Angel Settlement Association. “This partnership will allow Guardian Angel’s staff, students, and families of students we serve to be seen as well. Partnering with IFM will give Guardian Angel the opportunity to stay in compliance and ensure that the children and families we serve are healthy and ready to receive a good quality education each day.”

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