Wright State Medical and Psychology students (left to right) Sophia Proschel, Patrick Barney, Zachary Weed, Grace Overturf, Sam Perry, Lily White participate in a session on breathing relaxation techniques as part of OAHC’s Path to Wellness program. CONTRIBUTED

Bellbrook free health clinic, Wright State offer ‘Path to Wellness’

BELLBROOK –A free health care clinic in Bellbrook is partnering with Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine and School of Professional Psychology to help empower patients to take a greater stake in their own well-being with its Paths to Wellness program.

Open Arms Health Clinic (OAHC) was started six years ago by Bellbrook resident and RN Mary Ann Stone with the goal of serving the medical needs of the uninsured and under-insured in the greater Dayton area by providing basic medical services free of charge.

Lilian White, a WSU medical student who helped to develop Paths to Wellness, said that the program works as a complement to the medical services offered by the clinic.

Appointments take place on the second Saturday of the month for an hour between 9 a.m. and noon. Each patient is seen in a private clinic room with a medical and psychology student together.

“When a patient leaves an appointment with us, it is our hope that they will have 1-3 specific health-oriented goals they can take with them,” White said. “We also offer follow-up visits to assess progress and support them in the process of achieving their health goals.”

She said that some of the areas they might address with patients include stress reduction, nutrition, exercise and sleep.

WSU medical student and OAHC volunteer Grace Overturf said that though this program does not directly treat a patient’s specific ailment, it still helps a patient to improve their health and well-being overall.

“Patients realize that the small changes, such as trying a new vegetable or taking walks around their neighborhood, make enormous differences in all aspects of their lives. We are there to celebrate every victory, no matter how big or small,” said Overturf.

OAHC also addresses patients’ medical needs by offering free medical services such as many common lab tests and treatment for acute medical issues through their student-run health clinic. This clinic is offered the first Saturday of every month between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on a walk-in basis.

Students gain invaluable experience under the guidance of a licensed physician, as well as academic credit from WSU for their participation.

“We’ve created an awesome student community centered around health and well-being. Every session, we’ve had incredible conversations about our visions for future practices and encouraging each other to remain passionate and interested in lifestyle approaches to support health. This has been a huge blessing for me and one of the biggest highlights of my medical school experience,” said White.

OAHC is also open Tuesday evenings from 6-9 p.m. for all medical issues and on the first and third Friday of the month from 8 a.m.-noon to treat women’s health issues.

OAHC Medical Director Pat Jonas, MD, said that they currently have 375 patients, 80 percent of whom are uninsured. He said they were treated for myriad health issues ranging from upper respiratory and ear infections, hypertension, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and more. OAHC also performs well child, sports and employment physicals, too.

Jonas said that he is proud to say that clinic is 100 percent staffed by volunteers and has not had a paid employee in their six-year history.

OAHC is located in the Bellbrook Medical Building, 4403 SR. 725, Suite E, Bellbrook. You can contact them at 937-848-2939 or GarySargent@woh.rr.com. The phone will be answered directly during clinic hours, but all messages left outside of those hours will be forwarded to the appropriate OAHC volunteer.

For more information about OAHC services, volunteer information or to donate, visit their website at https://www.bellbrookopenarmsclinic.org/.

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