10:29 AM

Community Impact: Athens Nurses Clinic

Athens Nurses Clinic was founded more than 30 years ago as a free clinic offering neighborhood health screenings one evening a week. Today, the nonprofit health care clinic is open four days a week and has more than 500 patient visits a month. Athens Nurses Clinic provides free evaluation, treatment and education for acute and chronic medical and dental conditions to uninsured and low-and-no income residents.

One of its growing programs is its “Free From C” testing and treatment program, which is supported in part by grants from organizations like the Jackson EMC Foundation.

The Jackson EMC Foundation recently awarded a $15,000 grant to Athens Nurses clinic to help implement the “Free From C” testing and treatment program. Since 2010, Athens Nurses Clinic has received $43,800 in grant funds from the Jackson EMC Foundation.

“Hepatitis C is becoming very prevalent in Georgia,” said Paige Cummings, executive director of Athens Nurses Clinic. “We believe everyone should be tested at least once for Hepatitis C, and this grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation helps us continue testing and providing the care needed.”

The “Free From C” program identifies and treats uninsured, low-income patients diagnosed with Hepatitis C. The program includes community education, weekly counseling, treatment and post-testing. According to Cummings, 125 people have successfully completed the Athens Nurses Clinic’s program since it was started three years ago.

While Hepatitis C is more common in certain populations, Athens Nurses Clinic encourages everyone to be tested.

“We really want to catch people who never knew they had Hepatitis C and help educate those who are at risk of getting it,” Cummings said. “If we can put relief in the minds of people who have the disease and those who don’t know they have been inadvertently exposed, we’re doing our job.”

With the help of the grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation, Athens Nurses Clinic will be able to continue attending local community events with testing booths, provide care through a dedicated nurse practitioner and other professionals, and continue educating those with Hepatitis C about treatment options and how to live after treatment.

“Athens Nurses Clinic is here to help people who aren’t able to help themselves,” Cummings said. “We would not be able to accomplish the things we do without the support from the Jackson EMC Foundation.”