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Allen, Darr and Oxford at Mansfield School Clinic

Advanced practitioners Tonya Allen (left) and Carmen
Oxford (right) pose with Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr.
Oxford and Darr graduated from Mansfield High School
together. The lieutenant governor told the Southwest
Times Record
, “I know when I grew up here, like a lot
of rural Arkansas, we were poor people but we didn’t
know we were poor. No one went to the doctor or
to a dentist, not because that wasn’t a priority but
because we didn’t have the money. So for Mercy
to step in and do that is a remarkable thing.”

Goodman speaking at construction kick-off

Dr. Cole Goodman, Mercy Clinic president, speaks to
a crowd including local legislators, school leaders and
other health care providers at the construction kickoff
of the Mansfield school-based clinic. The clinic is
expected to open by September 1, 2013.

View of Mansfield clinic

Architect’s rendering of new Mansfield school-based clinic

Mansfield, Ark. ­– As advanced nurse practitioner Carmen Oxford walked through the construction space for the new Mansfield school-based clinic, she realized her office would be in the same place that was once her kindergarten classroom.

“It feels like coming full circle,” said Oxford, who’s been practicing at Mercy Clinic Family Practice -Mansfield for the last seven years. “This is where my education started and now I’ll be taking care of kids here. It’s not something I ever would have dreamed of but I’m excited for the opportunity.”

In the state’s first partnership between a school-based clinic and large health care provider, Mercy Clinic is working with Mansfield schools to provide health care services. The school district is renovating 9,100 square feet of space at Mansfield Elementary for a school-based clinic that will provide medical, dental, vision and mental health services to students and the community. It will also have space for occupational and physical therapy.

As the health care provider, Mercy Clinic will have a 2,700 square foot office with four exam rooms and one procedure room. Two of the rooms will be wired for telehealth services. The clinic will be staffed full-time by two advanced nurse practitioners, Oxford and Tonya Allen, APN. A dedicated outside entrance will allow community patients access to the clinic while a secure, interior entrance will make it convenient for students.

“Mercy is proud to have provided health care in Mansfield since the 90’s,” said Dr. Cole Goodman, Mercy Clinic president. “The opportunity to partner with the school to reach more children fits right in line with Mercy’s mission to provide health care for people where they are.”

In addition, an optometrist, Dr. Adam Schluterman and a dentist, Dr. Cody Friddle will provide part-time vision and dental services for students. Vista Health will provide full-time mental health services in the building.

Construction is being funded by a $500,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.  The clinic is expected to open at the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Mercy Clinic has plans to partner with other local school districts in school-based clinics in the future.

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