Editor’s note: This blogpost was written as a part of Ringling College of Art and Design’s Storytelling for Community Engagement: Ringling Student Views course, fall semester 2022, led by instructor Sylvia Whitman. Students were paired with nonprofits to learn about their mission and impact, and the post that follows shares the story of CenterPlace Health Women and Children's Clinic.
The project was completed as part of a collaboration with The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center. Many thanks to Charlene Altenhain and Sarah Glendening, especially, for their coordination of student writers to nonprofit organizations.
CenterPlace Health’s Women and Children’s Clinic is an active and warm environment. While people are waiting for scheduled appointments, a woman and her child play together, and laughter fills the air. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, with art provided by Embracing our Differences lining the walls.
Tiona Settles, one of the community health workers, leads me through the clinic space. She’s giving me a tour of two of their clinics to provide an inside perspective on CenterPlace Health. It was established in 2018 with three clinic locations. During the pandemic, this community health center not only continued to meet the needs of patients but expanded by opening two additional clinics and increasing telehealth services.
CenterPlace Health is a not-for-profit community health center with six locations now to serve patients in and around Sarasota County. One of the working mottos, which essentially sums up the organization’s mission, is “health care with heart.” CenterPlace Health accepts patients regardless of their ability to pay or their insurance status. It takes all insurance but works on a sliding fee scale for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Services provided include medical, dental, and behavioral health care for all ages. Patients also have access to an onsite laboratory as well as a pharmacy, which provides discounted medications.
Community health workers are an integral part of the success of CenterPlace Health. As “boots on the ground,” they advocate for patients, ensuring they have the needed resources that impact their overall health. This includes insurance assistance, food, housing, translation services, and overall care management. Community health workers all emphasize how welcoming CenterPlace Health was—both as a place to work but also as a place to receive care.
Tracy, for instance, describes how she has been working in the healthcare industry for over 20 years and is passionate about helping patients gain access to needed services and resources. Working at CenterPlace Health for her has been a chance to make a positive difference in the lives of patients.
Walking through the clinics, a visitor can sense that the providers and staff are deeply committed to their mission—to provide high quality, affordable healthcare in a compassionate and caring manner. CenterPlace Health truly is our community’s “healthcare with heart.”
Some of CenterPlace’s community health workers, including Tiona Settles (left), at a community event. Image courtesy of CenterPlace Health.