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New clinic opens in South L.A.

May 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
What's being hailed as a major addition to the health care system in South L.A. had its grand opening Friday morning. St. John's Well Child and Family center opened its new Mark Taper Foundation building and Dr. Kenneth Williams Community Health Center at the corner of Hoover and 58th streets. It includes six medical exam rooms, exercise and fitness rooms, and a demonstration kitchen.

Organizers say the center is designed to provide comprehensIve services for patients with chronic diseases. It's equipped to handle at least 7,000 new primary care visits each year.

It will also offer a minimum of 5,000 preventative and supplemental care visits. It will increase the capacity of the popular health care clinic by more than a third.

It will also offer exercise classes, nutrition and health cooking classes that include popular Latino and African American dishes.

"This is an extremely significant addition to the healthcare delivery system St. John's has developed throughout South Los Angeles," according to Jim Mangia, CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Center Clinics.

The Pediatric Center will offer walk-in-testing and treatment for thousands of children with chronic environmental health conditions such as asthma and lead poisoning under a $1 million grant from the Everychild Foundation.

Foundation founder, Jacqueline Caster, says "it is astonishing that in this day and age, low-income children in American still become lead poisoned from deteriorating paint in their homes, and suffer from asthma triggered by slum conditions such as cockroach and dust mite infestation and mold." Caster hopes the St. John's program funded by the Everychild grant will serve as a national model for alleviating those conditions and bringing more attention to the problem.

The S.Mark Taper Foundation building was constructed with gifts from the S. Mark Taper Foundation, the Ahamanson Foundation, the W.M. Keck Foundations, the Tides Foundation Community Clinics Initiative and the California Community Foundation's Centinela Medical Fund.

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