YPSILANTI – Speaking on a crisp, clear fall Friday at the outside ribbon cutting for the IHA Health Center @EMU, Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell scolded the men in the audience who had either decided not to or forgot to wear a coat.
“I hope all you coatless men don’t become (the center’s) first patients,” said Dingell, who wore a colorful winter coat befitting the chilly afternoon.
Dingell was among the speakers Friday, Nov. 1 at the ribbon cutting for a dramatic new addition to the Eastern Michigan University and community health landscape. The IHA Health Center @ EMU opened its doors to the campus and surrounding community and began serving patients on Monday, Nov. 4. A community open house was held on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony also included EMU President James Smith, Bill Manns, President of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor; Dr. Mark LePage, CEO of IHA; and Hajer Abuzir, EMU Student Body Vice President.
Exactly what students needed
Abuzir said that one of the main themes of her and Student Body President Ethan Smith’s campaign was calling on EMU to make sure that students’ basic needs are met.
“Access to affordable, quality medical care is exactly the sort of thing we have been talking about,” she said. “This clinic is a huge step toward living up to that expectation, as they will be accepting a broad range of insurance options. It’s honestly hard to overemphasize how much this means to students, because it will ensure that students’ lives aren’t hindered with the stress of paying off medical bills out of pocket.”
Abuzir said that as a pre-med student studying Biology, she was personally very excited for all the professional opportunities the new clinic will introduce to students.
“I would like to thank the IHA/St. Joes team for partnering with us for the benefit of EMU students and the greater Ypsilanti community, along with everyone else who was involved in making this facility a reality,” she said. “I’m extremely excited to see how EMU’s student healthcare will continue to flourish with the addition of this clinic.”
Dingell noted that the facility not only reduces worry for Eastern students and also for the greater community. “Too many people can’t get to the doctor” because of transportation challenges, economic factors or other reasons, she said, noting the convenient location of the center on a bus line and on the open, northwest end of the Eastern campus.
Dr. Lisa Whipple will serve as the site medical director for the IHA Primary Care and Gynecology team. She previously practiced at the IHA Family Medicine - Arbor Park, on Clark Road.
A space where all are welcome
Speaking at the ribbon cutting, Dr. Whipple pledged, “to continue to build from this collaborative work to create a space where all are welcome and will provide for the needs of those who are placed in our charge.”
“We recognize what a privilege it is to be called into service for not only the students, faculty and staff of EMU, but also for the entire community.”
The health center, a collaboration of IHA, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and the University, will provide vital primary health care services to members of the community at-large as well as the EMU community.
The center is located at 1065 North Huron River Drive, near the present headquarters of the EMU Department of Public Safety. The facility is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and its services include:
Whipple will head up an experienced primary care medical team that also includes Dr. Thuy Orlando, Dr. Robert Breakey, and Stacy Deckhart, CNP. Dr. Lisa Jeffries and Elizabeth Loomis, CNP, will provide gynecology services and Dr. Matthew Ajluni will oversee urgent care services.
Other important dates and times regarding the health center include:
• Friday, Nov. 1 was the last day of operation for University Health Services Medical Clinic at the Snow Health Center on the EMU campus. At this point, UHS will no longer see patients in the medical clinic. Current patients of the UHS Medical Clinic should contact their clinician to discuss the transition of your care to a new provider by Nov. 26, 2019.
Other important dates for the Snow Health Center include:
Dec. 13, 2019: The last day for Snow Pharmacy operation.
Dec. 14, 2019: Complete closure of the UHS Medical Clinic and the pharmacy at Snow Health Center.
EMU Campus Wellness Center to open in January
EMU is also constructing an adjacent facility, the EMU Campus Wellness Center, set to open in January 2020, that will house the University’s existing Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and other services presently located in Snow Health Center, along with the EMU Psychology Clinic, located on Cross Street. CAPS will remain in Snow Health Center and the Psychology Clinic will remain in its Cross Street location until the new facility opens.
The EMU Campus Wellness Center will also support the University’s College of Health and Human Services programs, with hands-on educational opportunities for students and faculty.
The total cost of the combined facilities is $14 million.
In concluding, Whipple said that, “Having so many shared values among our three organizations has been part of the special formula that is leading us toward creating a stronger and healthier community. Today’s ceremony, marking the opening of the new health center, tells us that we are on our way to making this a reality.”
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.
Established in 1994 and celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding in 2019, IHA is one of the best and largest multi-specialty groups in Michigan, delivering more than one million patient visits each year. IHA employs more than 2,400 staff, including more than 700 providers consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwives in approximately 74 practice locations across Southeast Michigan.