WILMINGTON, NC (WECT). A $10 million donation from basketball star and Wilmington native Michael Jordan will help build a clinic on the corner of Princess Place and 30th Street.
“People associate Michael Jordan with a series of special moments, but true greatness comes when you can create moments when you’re not even physically present,” said Novant Health’s Chief Community Engagement Specialist Dr. Philip Brown. “That’s what he’s doing today. His family gift will revolutionize healthcare in Wilmington.”
Novant Health announced its plans for a second Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic on Wednesday morning. The clinics will focus on primary health care with integrated behavioral health.
The goal is to support historically underserved communities in the area. Executives say Creekwood South is across the street and this plan should succeed.
Both clinics will serve people who do not have nearby clinics to provide easy access to health care, such as Sandra Bell, who has been living in South Creekwood for a year and a half.
“I have to drive there, to the Northside clinic – about 20 minutes,” Bell said. “I take a city bus and thank God we have a city bus.”
Bell says many of her neighbors avoid doctor visits altogether. North Carolina NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell hopes the clinic’s proximity can change that.
“Sometimes people don’t apply for services due to a lack of knowledge, so once you physically place a place here, people will tend to seek services,” Dix Maxwell said. “We will also be promoting and helping Novant spread the word. They will have community health workers doing this as well, which is what they are doing with the community right now.”
Not only will the clinic help create a healthier community, but it may open up new career paths for neighbors.
“The real transformative power of Michael Jordan Family Health Clinics in historically underserved communities is not that people can go to a primary care physician,” said Dr. Brown. “The fact is that people from these communities have an idea of what it means to be primary health care physician or some other position in the clinic.”
Last July, Novant announced that the first of two clinics would be located on the corner of Greenfield and 15th Streets, near the Wilmington Housing Authority. A second site was originally planned to be built on Fanning Street, however ongoing conversations referred to Princess Place as more suitable.
“East Wilmington needed some extra healthcare access even though MedNorth is on North 4th Street and on the bus line,” MedNorth’s Althea Johnson said. “This area still needed additional access to healthcare.”
While Bell looks forward to the doctor’s office just steps from her front door, she hopes her neighbors are planning to take advantage of it too.
“Right here in this area, it can give them some reassurance that not everyone will be minding their own business or something,” Bell said. “Everyone works differently, everyone thinks differently, but I do it. They will feel more confident if they cross the road to the clinic.”
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