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Charles Drew Health Center

Hailing from the south side of Chicago, Larry Duncan, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. has always had a passion for helping others. “My passion, at first, started off with a drug and alcohol emphasis based on my own experiences and knowledge. As I grew and received more education, mental health became the next umbrella. It rests with my understanding that there are unique issues that affect black and brown people, and people who are marginalized.”

Within the first year serving at Charles Drew, Larry faced his biggest challenge yet, leading a team while in the mists of coronavirus. “The number one thing we did quickly was become active.” As COVID-19 began to highlight the care gaps within marginalized communities, the Behavioral Health team at Charles Drew looked to bridge those gaps within the community.

“For our population it was a dual threat. On one side of the coin, the crisis becomes an additional stress to a population of people who already live with stress. On the flip side of the coin, the lack of community and social interaction increased depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness.”

The message was simple, but practical: Practice the Five Cs–Connection, Commitment, Communion, Contain, and Continue.

Looking back, one of the greatest strengths of Charles Drew, in Larry’s eyes, was the ability to remain active. While most were waiting, frozen in their activity, Charles Drew advanced forward.

“We got better and better at it. We were doing testing on the front line when testing was just starting. As masks began to be required, we were handing them out to the community members in need. Whatever needed to be done in the face of this virus, we did it.”

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Community Features

Ted Lampkin: Rising to Meet the Challenge

Sponsored Content:
Charles Drew Health Center

Growing up down the street from Charles Drew Health Center, Inc., it was no question for Ted Lampkin to give back to the community that helped raise him.

“I’m passionate about public health because I am a product of public health services. Coming up, my family and I used the services at Charles Drew.”

As the Associate Director of Behavioral Health Services, Ted has been on the front-line teaching and training team members in new approaches to behavioral health. It’s no surprise that when COVID-19 struck, Ted was front and center.

“My role was to help transition the Behavioral Health department from doing face-to-face therapy to telehealth therapy.”

While COVID-19 began to escalate, increasing evidence highlighted racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“We made it easy for the patients, providing traditional face-to-face, telehealth, and when needed telephonic sessions. A lot of patients had anxiety about COVID-19 and being in the middle of a pandemic, in addition to their other stressers.”

“The benefit of telehealth is we can continue to provide quality service during a pandemic. You take out the barriers to care with telehealth.”

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Community Features

Brenda Avant: Providing Quality Healthcare in the Midst of COVID-19

Sponsored Content:
Charles Drew Health Center

As a North Omaha native, Family Nurse Practitioner, Brenda Avant, understands educating her patients about their healthcare choices is a foundational principle to accessing safe and quality healthcare.

When the pandemic shut down Omaha metro schools, Brenda and the team members at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. School-based Health Centers had to switch gears. While still providing in-person care, the SBHC Medical providers began utilizing telehealth to remain in contact with their patients.

“The telehealth program at Charles Drew really grew at that time. As Medical providers, we were able to continue serving our student patients through telehealth. The parents really enjoyed it because they felt even through a pandemic their child’s provider is still in tune with their needs.”

As the pandemic surged, the healthcare inequalities within the American health system began to come to the foreground. “It made me proud to see that Charles Drew was a front runner in COVID-19. The community was looking to us to help guide them through.”

“Charles Drew made it very easy for the population we serve to continue receiving care. We may be small, but we are mighty.”

 

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Community Features

Aja Anderson: Meeting the Community Needs

Sponsored Content:
Charles Drew Health Center

For Aja Anderson, Community Engagement Manager, Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. is a perfect harmony of her passion for health, love for helping people, and giving back to the community she was raised in. “It’s simple, this is my community. There’s not a day that I don’t walk into one of our locations and see a familiar face. These are the people that I care about.”

When her team and role became disrupted due to COVID-19, Aja jumped into action to ensure Community Engagement was still on the front lines being a helping hand. “My entire team was displaced. We were able to re-purpose in other areas and departments who needed assistance.

From making appointment reminder calls to screening visitors in the buildings. My team was still able to make an impact.”

With the main priority of Community Engagement as grassroot efforts to ensure all community members have medical homes and access to healthcare, Aja had to rethink their traditional approach.

“In July 2020, we were able to resume outreach with COVID-19 protocols in place. Our model transitioned into more street outreach. We worked to meet the people where they were in the community. We went to grocery stories, gas stations, beauty and barber shops to keep serving the people.”

“The support of the community has been amazing. From getting over 3,000 handmade masks to helping boost employee morale, the community has stepped up. I have been touched by all of the people that were willing to help out Charles Drew in the heart of North Omaha.”

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