Officials tout $1M grant for Flint-area health system

Jacob Carah
Special to The Detroit News

Flint — On the heels of President Barack Obama’s visit to the city, Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, toured the main campus of Genesee Community Health Center in downtown Flint on Thursday.

“Yesterday, HHS awarded $1 million dollars in a health center construction grant to the Genesee Health System,” said Lurie said. It was one of 10 grants equaling $10 million awarded to the state of Michigan.

Lurie said the grant can be used to “expand and renovate” the Genesee Community Health Center. It will increase capacity for the clinic and provide additional “wrap-around services” to community members in need of primary care and lead mitigating care.

“On the tour, just know I was able to see, first of all, how cramped their space was and how badly they need the extra space and capacity to take care of additional clients,” Lurie said.

Dan Russell, 63, CEO of Genesee Health System noted the Genesee Health System has been there for the Flint community for more than 50 years.

“We are going to continue to provide those services, and we will be here through the recovery of Flint,” Russell said.

Honor Potvin, 35, associate director of health projects and development as well as interim executive director for the health system, said the center currently can service about 12 clients at a time. This includes a physician on staff and two nurse practitioners.

“We plan to use the funds to continue to expand our ability to meet the need we’re seeing,” Potvin said.

Potvin said the grant is crucial to the work of the center in providing holistic care to the community.

“The behavioral health and primary care services are critical right now in our community and over our patients lifespan, so thank you,” Potvin said.

Yvonne Lewis, 61, board member for GCHC added “this expansion grant is so amazing. We struggled to get this for awhile, and today we’re thankful it is an actual reality.”