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Community Health Center to celebrate National Health Center Week

A global pandemic is not going to stop Community Health Center of Fort Dodge from celebrating the 2020 National Health Center Week, even if some adjustments have to be made to the festivities.

The weeklong commemoration begins Monday and ends Aug. 14.

Typically, the CHC hosts a back to school block party during National Health Center Week. However, due to concerns over COVID-19, the block party has been canceled.

During the block party, CHC would offer well child checks, immunizations and dental screenings, said Regina Suhrbier, outreach coordinator for CHC.

“Even though we are not having the block party, we are still offering those services,” Suhrbier said. “They are free to children who do not have health insurance. If the child is insured, then we process it through their insurance.”

Parents and caregivers will need to call the CHC to make an appointment for the free visits.

“It’s really unique that we can do all of those things in one stop for them,” Suhrbier said. “Instead of going to a separate dentist and a separate medical (practitioner), it’s all under one roof, which is a really nice, convenient thing for families.”

Not wanting to give up all the fun because of COVID-19, the CHC is also hosting a children’s coloring page contest with prize baskets that include a neat book about the human body, jumpropes and other fun things for kids.

Kids will receive a coloring page and a box of crayons when they come in for their appointments before Aug. 14. For those who don’t have an appointment, the coloring page can be downloaded from the CHC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Community-Health-Center-of-Fort-Dodge-350836519317. The CHC asks that families don’t just walk into the center if they don’t have an appointment.

“Part of Community Health Center Week is patient appreciation,” Suhrbier said.

To show appreciation to CHC patients, all patients will receive a cookie during their appointments during the week.

“There’s also an employee appreciation portion and we’re going to be having a meal for employees and just thanking them for everything they’re doing, especially during this time,” Suhrbier said.

The purpose of National Health Center week isn’t just for coloring contests and free cookies, although they’re certainly a part of it. The purpose is to raise awareness of health centers’ role in their communities.

“One thing that we’re really proud of is that we’re open to everyone,” Suhrbier said. “The goal of health centers is just helping eliminate barriers to health care within the community.”

Each community health center is unique to its community, she said. There are 14 different community health centers in the state of Iowa, and each is focused on serving the specific needs of the community it is in.

“Barriers to health care could be finanical, they could be transportation, any of those things that make it difficult for those people to get the health care that they need,” Suhrbier said. “We try to eliminate those barriers so that they can get those services that they need.”

The Community Health Center of Fort Dodge, along with its Mason City and Dayton clinics, served nearly 8,000 patients in 2019, including 32 homeless patients.

To schedule a well child check, dental screening or immunization, call 515-576-6500.

Community Health Center of Fort Dodge is also holding COVID-19 rapid testing clinics daily.

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