OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Wallace Medical Concern held a soft opening for its new clinic on Dec. 9.Wallace Medical Concern, a nonprofit federally qualified health center, opened a second primary care clinic last week to serve more residents in East Multnomah County.

The new clinic, at 254 N.W. Burnside Road in the Gresham Square shopping center, adds to the services offered in its original location at 124 N.E. 181st Ave.

With federal funds, Wallace Medical brought on one additional healthcare provider who will be available five days a week at the new location. The new clinic is expected to grow to have four health care providers and a full-time mobile medical clinic that will make rounds to apartment complexes and schools.

WMC received one of only four federal grants in Oregon for this project and was the only clinic in the metro area to receive funding.

With the grant, Wallace Medical also became a designated clinic for the homeless population.

WMC’s approach to health care focuses on removing barriers people have to participating in the medical system and improving their health, with services designed to “wrap around” each patient based on their specific circumstances, noted Lisa Cline, chief executive officer of Wallace Medical.

With the designation to provide healthcare for the homeless, the center will develop a referral process for mental health and addiction services.

“We believe that health care extends beyond the exam room, so we focus on serving the whole person with support and resources that engage them fully in creating good health,” Cline said. “For one person that might mean transportation assistance and language interpretation. Someone else might need help locating food resources and enrolling in health insurance. It’s all about listening and partnering with each patient to address their priority need.”

Cline also noted that increasing numbers of Gresham-area residents experience challenges related to ethnic and language differences, homelessness and other barriers to accessing health care in a traditional setting. As a federally qualified health center, WMC has specific experience in navigating patients through what can seem a bewildering and complex health system.

The new clinic marks the first of two major expansions for WMC. In March, the organization plans to open a dental clinic adjacent to its Rockwood Building clinic.

“It’s all about the need in the community. The decision to add dental, the decision to add a new site — there is need out there,” Cline said. “It’s great to be able to provide this service. We feel so fortunate.”

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