Hurley pediatric clinic to move to Flint Farmer's Market

Flint Farmer's Market sign (2012)To open by summer

If you haven't heard the news, soon Hurley's resident physicians in pediatrics will see clinic patients in new offices atop the new Flint Farmer's Market, 300 East First St., in downtown Flint, just a few steps away from the YMCA. Those three institutions have formed a new Wellness Hub - technically, a kiosk inside the market that lists all of the nearby offerings, such as cooking demonstrations, fitness classes, car seat checks, health screenings and education events.

Plus, the rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables on the main floor of the market may reinforce the nutrition recommendations the pediatric clinic shares with families. As a bonus, the Farmer's Market accepts the state's food assistance Bridge Card, which doubles the buying power at most of Michigan's farmer's markets through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)'s Double-Up Food Bucks program. The Farmer's Market is open 9 am to 6 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 am to 5 pm Saturdays.

Flint Farmer's Market

Pediatric Residency Training Program Director Mona Hanna-Attisha MD MPH plans to employ a food prescription tactic - physicians can actually write out a food prescription on a prescription pad to help families with healthy food choices.

"And then we can actually walk patients downstairs and show them," said Hanna-Attisha.

The new space is to include the Hurley Children's Clinic, where resident physicians see well and sick children as part of their continuity clinic experience, as well as the Hurley Children's Specialty Clinic, where children and families can see pediatric specialists in such areas as cardiology, endocrinology, hematology, genetics, pulmonology, surgery, neurology, adolescent medicine, and more. Both clinics are currently housed across the street from Hurley's main campus at Mott Children's Health Center, which is planning to expand into the Hurley-occupied space.

A benefit for patients is the clinic's downtown location, which is across the street from Flint's Mass Transit Authority bus station, making transportation a little easier for local families by eliminating at least one transfer. (Bus fares are $1.75 per person, plus 10 cents per transfer. It is 85 cents for those age 65 or older, anyone on Medicare, or anyone with disabilities.)

Flint's Welness Hub, formed by Hurley Medical Center, The Flint Farmer's Market, and the YMCAIt also is across the street from the new Flint offices of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, which remodeled the former Flint Journal building via the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, which used Michigan Community Revitalization Program and other grant and loan money for much of the work. That location is convenient for medical students assigned to pediatric clerkships through Hurley. The MSU-CHM-Flint building also houses its School of Public Health.

The Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, a nonprofit corporation focused on reinventing downtown Flint, also manages the Farmer's Market and has dubbed the surrounding four-city block area the Health & Wellness District.

Since the upper floor of the Farmer's Market is open, the 10,300-square-foot space can be best designed for health and education purposes. For example, faculty are to have an observation room to assess and evaluate resident skills without intruding into the actual exam room and without influencing the resident-patient interaction. The waiting area may have desk space, so children and parents can do work while they wait. Some of the upstairs space overlooks the market below and may be turned into a play area for children who are waiting for their appointments.

About 150 patients are expected per day to visit the two clinics, staffed by a social worker, nutritionist, 21 pediatric residents, faculty, and pediatric specialists, in addition to nurses, medical assistants and receptionists. An elevator will help those with disabilities or with strollers. A Farmer's Market conference room could be used for parenting classes or other educational sessions. The clinic also will have its own entrance. It will be open Monday through Friday.

It is to be fully operational by the start of the next academic year on July 1, 2015, but it likely will be ready before then.

Hurley's pediatric resident physicians also work at Hurley Children's Hospital inside Hurley Medical Center, which is a Children's Miracle Network Hospital, as well as a teaching hospital with affiliations with Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and others. It houses the region's only Pediatric Level II Trauma Center, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (highest level possible), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Center for Maternal Fetal Medicine, and Children’s Emergency Department. It also houses a pediatric burn center, pediatric oncology unit, and the region's only home-based (and nationally recognized) pediatric asthma disease management program.

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Michigan's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low-income. It can help buy nutritious food for a better diet. For enrollment information, call the toll-free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline at 855-ASK-MICH.