By Deborah Baresic WHNP-BC and Linda Finke RN, PhD
The IPFW Lafayette Street Family Health Clinic, affiliated with the College of Health and Human Services and the Department of Nursing, has continued its 10-year tradition of providing women’s health care to the underserved of Fort Wayne. We are federally funded from Title X. We provide services on a sliding scale or free for those who cannot pay. We also bill insurance and accept Medicaid. We have over 1000 patients and in the last fiscal year had 2331 patient encounters.
What We Do
Our services include yearly exams, screening for cervical and breast cancer, and sexually transmitted infections (STI). We prescribe all types of birth control, tests and treatments for STI’s, see patients for problem visits, and do pregnancy testing. Our goal is to help women be as healthy as possible and to plan when to bring children into their family. A healthy planned pregnancy helps to decrease maternal and infant mortality. We also do screening and referral for primary health care problems such as high blood pressure, cervical and breast cancer, and other health problems. We are a nurse managed clinic. Our staff includes an Executive Director, a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, a registered nurse and 2 medical assistants.
Where We Are Located
We are located at Lafayette and Pontiac in the Lafayette Street Medical Building in the underserved area of Fort Wayne. In the last fiscal year, 83% of our patients were 100% or below the federal poverty level and paid nothing for their services. 33% of our patients are Hispanic and 2 of our staff are bilingual which really helps with communication. We also have a Health insurance Navigator, again grant funded, to assist patients and their families find affordable health insurance.
What We Hope to Accomplish
One of our main goals this year has been to increase the knowledge in our community about the prevalence of human papilloma virus (HPV) and the importance of vaccination. This is a critical issue as 80% of people will be exposed to HPV in their lifetime which increases the risk of cervical, penile, and anal cancers. The vaccination gives boys and girls significant immunity to the virus. We are sponsoring many activities on campus and in the community related to this. We have partnered with the IPFW Center for Healthy Living, Dean of Students, Student Life, the College of Health and Human Services, and the Allen County Department of Health to hold education sessions and immunizations on the IPFW campus. We have also partnered with the YWCA and the Public Housing Authority to hold community events. Allen County has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted disease in the state of Indiana. We do testing and treatment as well as education to prevent the spread of these infections. We also do HIV testing.
The IPFW Lafayette Street Family Health Clinic provides an important service for low-income women. We are located where our patients live and we provide culturally sensitive health care. Many of our patients have no other place to receive care and we are proud of the exceptional services we provide.