Christiansburg, Virginia 24073
News & Events
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Free Clinic Welcomes New Integrated Treatment Care Coordinator
June 11, 2013
The Free Clinic of the New River Valley (FCNRV) is pleased to announce the addition to the staff of Brittany Hall, MS, LPC Resident. Ms. Hall is the new full-time Integrated Treatment Care Coordinator for the Free Clinic’s Behavioral Health Services. She joins John Walker, MD, staff psychiatrist in the Free Clinic’s new Integrated Behavioral Health Program.
“I am very excited to join the Free Clinic team to help provide the best holistic care to the patients,” says Hall. “Integrated Care has been a passion of mine for years and I’m looking forward to coordinating our Behavioral Health Services, as well as collaborating and networking with mental health professionals in the area to strengthen the local mental health safety net.”
Hall is a graduate of Radford University with a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Development with a concentration in Community Counseling. Before coming to the Free Clinic, Hall was a School Based Therapist with New River Valley Community Services.
“Brittany’s enthusiasm and experience will help us provide the best possible behavioral health services for our patients and integrate those services with the patients’ basic medical care,” states Michelle Brauns, Executive Director of the FCNRV. “Rather than treating the mind and the body separately, Brittany is here to ensure that we treat patients holistically. This evidence-based practice can be the key to recovery for many of our patients.”
In April 2012, the FCNRV acquired a local Pro Bono mental health program and has since made great strides to strengthen the mental health services offered by increasing the number of behavioral health staff and volunteers, and by instituting the exemplary integrated care model. In recognition of this effort, the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) awarded the FCNRV a grant for over $126,000 to support implementation of the model.
The VHCF supports this unique approach to integrated care, which increases patient capacity and expands the FCNRV’s scope of services. The funds support staff resources and case management for behavioral health patients with related medical needs or chronic physical illnesses.
Brittany Hall, MS, LPC Resident
The Free Clinic Announces New Board Members and Officers
June 7, 2013
The Free Clinic is pleased to announce newly-elected Board members and officers. Amy Westmoreland, Pharm. D., has served on the Board of the Clinic since 2009 and assumes the role of Board Chairman. Dr. Westmoreland is the Pharmacy Manager at Carilion Giles Community Hospital and is active as a Community Pharmacy Educator for citizens and health care professionals alike. She takes over for the Past-Chairman, Patricia Hyer, Associate Provost Emerita, Virginia Tech.
“For the past 29 years, I have lived and worked in Giles County and I feel very passionate about health care in the New River Valley,” says Westmoreland. “I am honored to serve as Chairman for the Free Clinic’s Board of concerned citizens dedicated to improving access to health care for lower-income residents.”
Other Executive Officers include: James Bohland, Public and International Affairs Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech, as Chair-Elect; and Cathy McDowell, Vice President of Orthopedic, Spine and Cardiovascular Services, LewisGale Regional Health System, as Secretary.
Additionally, new Board members include:
John Bouldin, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Virginia Tech
Brian Burch, Senior Pastor, Pearisburg First United Methodist Church
Lynne Knox, Director and Teacher, Blacksburg Montessori School
Robert Hoskins, Dentist, Self-employed general dental practice
These individuals join existing members:
Tracy Cohn, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Radford University
Kristi Eaton, Accounting Supervisor, Celco Credit Union
Keith Finch, Lawyer, The Creekmore Law Firm PC
Patricia Gaudreau, Supervisor for Science, Health and Physical Education, Montgomery County
Michael Herndon, Director, University Summer Sessions, Virginia Tech
Anthony Ramsey, Director, Radford University School of Nursing
Charlotte Ramsey, Chief Nursing Officer, Carilion New River Valley Medical Center
Margot Thompson, Owner, Thompson Tire
Amy Westmoreland, Pharm. D.
Ribbon Cutting Held for G-REACH, Giles County's New Non-Emergency Health Transportation Service
May 31, 2013
On Thursday, May 30, Giles County residents and local health professionals celebrated at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Giles County’s new non-emergency health transportation service, G-REACH. G-REACH is a product of the early strategic planning of G-NET, the Giles County Health Network, which identified transportation as the number one barrier to health care access in Giles County for low income residents. G-NET and G-REACH are both funded by grants from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The Giles Free Clinic and the Giles Health & Family Center operate the G-REACH project.
Two G-REACH vehicles which had been running all morning providing transportation to Giles residents were featured at the event with the ribbon strung between their bumpers. The lawn outside the G-NET Headquarters was strewn with tire-shaped balloons and free giveaways highlighted the single phone number needed to access G-REACH in the form of van-shaped stress balls and tire-shaped key chains.
“For many of our residents, transportation is often the greatest challenge to making a health care appointment,” said Delegate Joseph Yost in his opening remarks. “G-REACH fills the gap for lower income folks who need help reaching their health care appointments, even if that appointment is outside Giles County.”
G-REACH provides transportation to and from outpatient medical appointments including appointments for mental health, dental, vision, and specialty care as far away as the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. G-REACH also provides transportation to residents seeking services provided by member organizations of G-NET such as the NRV CARES' Parenting Young Children class participants.
“G-REACH goes a step further by providing access to care for a variety of services that contribute to a family’s holistic needs,” said Michelle Brauns, Executive Director of the Free Clinic of the New River Valley and Giles Free Clinic, and Project Director of G-REACH. “G-REACH is the culmination of a year-long planning process and we are so fortunate to have so many engaged individuals helping this become a reality.”
Members of the G-REACH Advisory Group, which is comprised of local citizens and health professionals, were acknowledged at the ceremony with Certificates of Appreciation for their volunteer participation in the development and design of G-REACH.
To arrange low cost, non-emergency transportation to your next health care or health-related appointment, contact the G-REACH transportation service at (540) 921-3024. Learn more about G-REACH here.
From left to right in front row: Michelle Brauns, Free Clinic of the New River Valley and Giles Free Clinic Executive Director and G-REACH Project Director; Delegate Joseph Yost; Amy Westmoreland, Free Clinic of the New River Valley and Giles Free Clinic Board Chairman; Town of Pearisburg Mayor Robert Dickerson; Darlene Sadler, Giles Health & Family Center and G-REACH Transportation Coordinator; U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith; Kaye Johnson, Giles Health & Family Center Director; and Joan Kark, G-REACH Advisory Group member. Photo by David Martin, Virginian Leader
May 30, 2013
Children's Artwork Brightens Giles Free Clinic Lobby
April 22, 2013
“Patients say it brightens up the waiting room,” says Rash Ghoorahoo, Giles Free Clinic Nurse Practitioner, as he stands in the lobby of the Free Clinic in Pearisburg in front of an arrangement of “Sparkly Snowmen and Tacky Penguins” drawn by Eastern Elementary first graders.
The lobby of the Giles Free Clinic is the welcome room for over 1,000 Giles County residents who lack health insurance and could otherwise not afford health care. Ghoorahoo sees every patient of the Giles Free Clinic, and decided the austere lobby could use some color. He contacted the principals of all the local elementary schools and asked about the possibility that student’s artwork could be displayed at the Clinic.
“I was excited when Rash contacted me with this idea. So much of the students’ work is never displayed. It either remains at the school or goes straight home, so this is a great opportunity to have it displayed in the community,” says Rick Franklin, Principal of Narrows Elementary and Middle School.
“I think the parents that come in are happy to see their children’s artwork displayed in such a positive way,” says Jared Rader, Principal of Macy McClaugherty Elementary and Middle School.
“Anytime we get a chance to brag on our students in the area of the fine arts, we take it,” says Greg Canaday, Principal of Eastern Elementary and Middle School.
Nikki Pynn, the elementary art teacher for the Giles County Public Schools, rotates the artwork out every few months and makes sure to display art from different grades and different schools each time. The first display went up in November of last year and consisted of cheerful pictures of families.
“Patients have just enough time to enjoy the pictures and hopefully have their spirits lifted a bit before their appointment,” says Ghoorahoo.
The Giles Free Clinic is a satellite of the Free Clinic of the New River Valley and is committed to providing valuable healthcare services to all uninsured, low-income adult residents in the area.
From left to right: Rick Franklin, Principal, Narrows Elementary and Middle School, Rash Ghoorahoo, Free Clinic NP, and Jared Rader, Principal, Macy McClaugherty Elementary and Middle School, pose in front of the students’ artwork.
Rash Ghoorahoo, Giles Free Clinic NP (left), and Greg
Canaday, Principal, Eastern Elementary and Middle
School, in front of “Sparkly Snowmen and Tacky Penguins”
by Eastern Elementary First Graders.
Family Dental Clinic Celebrates Grand Opening with Floss Cutting
March 8, 2013
On Monday, March 4, the Free Clinic of New River Valley (FCNRV) held a “Floss Cutting” to celebrate the grand opening its new subsidiary dental clinic, the Family Dental Clinic of the New River Valley (FDCNRV). The FCNRV began, over two years ago, to plan for this expanded dental operation at its site in Christiansburg—one that could accept uninsured children and Medicaid-covered children while continuing to serve uninsured adults.
“We are so proud to create greater access to dental services for the community’s uninsured and Medicaid-covered children,” said Michelle Brauns, Executive Director. “The benefits will multiply over time as our residents and their children will no longer have to suffer needlessly, travel far for care, or incur insurmountable medical debt to see a dentist.”
Since 2003, the FCNRV’s dental program has served as the region’s dental safety net providing hundreds of patients with affordable dental care, but never before has the Free Clinic served children.
“It’s a hard truth, but lower income people have a hard time finding dental care,” said Christiansburg Mayor Richard Ballengee.
Ballengee also spoke of the tremendous need for affordable pediatric dental services that he frequently saw firsthand while serving as the principal of a local elementary school.
The event also included the unveiling of a colorful children’s dental mural donated by the Blacksburg Regional Art Association and Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech which spans across three walls of one of the Clinic’s operatories.
“We are extremely grateful for the donation of this beautiful mural,” said Brauns. “It truly reflects our new capacity to serve as a dental home for Medicaid-covered and uninsured children.”
Services are provided by two staff dentists, one of which has extensive experience in children’s dental care, and by many volunteer New River Valley dentists. The FDCNRV is located within the Free Clinic of the New River Valley building at 215 Roanoke Street.
With the scissors after cutting the “floss” from left to right: Michelle Brauns, Executive Director;
Christiansburg Mayor Richard Ballengee; Hui Yang, DDS; Patricia Hyer, Board Chairman;
and Maria Joseph, DDS.
March 6, 2013
March 4, 2013
February 13, 2013
Family Dental Clinic Announces Arrival of New Dentist to Serve Children and Adults
Janaury 22, 2013
The Family Dental Clinic of the New River Valley (FDCNRV) is pleased to announce the arrival of Dr. Hui Yang as a full-time dentist at the FDCNRV.
“I am so pleased to join the Family Dental Clinic,” says Yang. “I cannot imagine a friendlier environment where I can work to provide affordable dental care to children and families in this community.”
Yang received her Master of Medicine in Stomatology at the PLA Postgraduate Medical School in Beijing, China, and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Biophysics from the University of Colorado. She went on to receive her Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) from the New York University College of Dentistry.
“We are so grateful and excited for Dr. Yang to join the Family Dental Clinic team,” states Michelle Brauns, Executive Director of the FDCNRV. “Her experience serving children and her enthusiasm for helping the underserved will sustain our efforts of serving adults while allowing us to begin serving the children who have limited dental care options.”
Dr. Hui Yang, DDS
Free Clinic Raises $112,000 at Annual Health, Healing and Hope Event
December 21, 2012
On November 28, the Free Clinic of the New River Valley (FCNRV) hosted its annual Health, Healing & Hope fundraising event. The event was held at the Inn at Virginia Tech and included reception, dinner and inspirational messages. Presentations were made by Michelle Brauns, Executive Director, Pat Hyer, Board Chair, and a FCNRV patient. Over 140 people were in attendance and $112,000 was raised to benefit the FCNRV and its Clinics: The Family Dental Clinic of the New River Valley and the Giles Satellite Clinic.
“Without the support of the community we would not be able to improve patient health, let alone sustain the level of service we are providing now,” says Brauns. “Even with national healthcare reform, we anticipate the need for free medical and dental care to continue for a long time and we are so grateful for our community of generous partners.”
Dr. James Wolfe, President of Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Patricia Hyer, Board Chairman, FCNRV, celebrate at the Virginia Tech Inn.
The evening would not have been possible without the support of the following sponsors:
AVON District 1475
Best Wishes Flowers and Gifts
Blacksburg Country Club
Carilion New River Valley Medical Center
Celco Federal Credit Union
Garrett’s and Meg’s
Holiday Inn University-Blacksburg
Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech
Bill Roth, Director of Broadcast Operations, Virginia Tech/IMG Sports
The Bank Restaurant Food and Drink
The Creekmore Law Firm PC
The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Inn at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Athletic Department, Visual and Broadcast Communication
Students from Dr. Terry Cobb's Productivity and Quality Leadership Class at Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business pose outside the Free Clinic of the New River Valley after presenting a Total Quality Management Project designed for the Clinic. From left to right: Elizabeth Foreman, Christopher Masla, Robert Powell, Erica Southworth, Brittany Myrick (Not pictured: Carlyn Flemer)
The Family Dental Clinic of the New River Valley Receives Contribution from
C.E. Richardson Benevolent Foundation
November 28, 2012
The C. E. Richardson Benevolent Foundation in Pulaski County awarded $4,000 to the Family Dental Clinic of the New River Valley (FDCNRV) to help fund services for the underserved and uninsured adults in the area. This contribution will also aid the FDCNRV’s expansion of the dental program to serve Medicaid-covered children beginning in December.
The Family Dental Clinic is preparing to expand services to children by hiring a full-time dentist with an extensive background in children’s dental care. According to Michelle Brauns, Executive Director, patient need far outweighs the resources available to help the uninsured adult population in the New River Valley, let alone the underserved population of Medicaid-covered children.
“Our goal is to help children and adults who fall through the cracks when it comes to accessing dental care. We are grateful to the Board of Directors of the C.E. Richardson Foundation for its commitment to our dental care mission and generous contribution toward our expansion,” says Brauns.
The Family Dental Clinic of the New River Valley provides critical care to children with Medicaid and uninsured adult patients. Services are provided by two staff dentists and by twenty volunteer New River Valley dentists and their support staff. The FDCNRV is located in the Free Clinic of the New River Valley at 215 Roanoke Street. For more information about the FDCNRV call (540) 381-8151 or visit the Family Dental Clinic link.
The Free Clinic Receives $85,000 from the New River Valley Health Foundation
November 7, 2012
The Free Clinic of the New River Valley (FCNRV) received an $85,000 donation from the New River Valley Health Foundation to be used to help fund programs and services including medical care, dental care and medications for the uninsured in the community.
The NRV Health Foundation has a history of generous contributions to the Free Clinic and this year provided additional funding for support of the Free Clinic’s new emphasis on the integration of behavioral health care into its medical home setting.
“We are so grateful for the generous and steadfast support of the New River Valley Health Foundation,” states Michelle Brauns, Executive Director of the FCNRV. “We remain a beacon of light for the under- and uninsured residents of the New River Valley, and this contribution will greatly bolster our efforts to provide accessible health care assistance in this time of health care reform uncertainty.”
The Giles Free Clinic Celebrates Five Year Anniversary
October 31, 2012
The Giles Free Clinic celebrated its Five Year Anniversary on October 22, 2012. The Giles Free Clinic was founded in October, 2007, with a U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Rural Health Outreach Grant. When it opened, the Giles Clinic only operated 20 hours a week with a part-time practitioner. Since then, the Giles Clinic has expanded to 40 hours of patient care per week serving 1,200 patients from Giles and Bland Counties and some West Virginia counties, providing over 18,000 visits.
“The Giles Free Clinic has come a long way in the past five years and we are so thankful for the volunteer help provided by local medical practitioners and the free services provided by Carilion Giles Community Hospital,” says Michelle Brauns, Executive Director.
The Giles Clinic had an Open House for the community to celebrate this milestone. The Giles Free Clinic is a satellite clinic of the Free Clinic of the New River Valley that is committed to providing valuable healthcare services to all uninsured, low-income adult residents in the area. The Giles Free Clinic's intent is to expand access to healthcare for Giles residents who otherwise might have difficulty traveling to Christiansburg to receive medical, dental, pharmacy and behavioral health care services. For more information about the Giles Free Clinic call (540) 921-3502 or visit the Giles Clinic link.
From left to right: Eva Hudson, Manager of NRVCS Giles Clinic,
Bobby Miglani, M.D., FAPA, Medical Director of NRVCS Giles Clinic,
Michelle Brauns, Executive Director of the FCNRV, and
Raschid Ghoorahoo, NP of the FCNRV, enjoy a tour and
fellowship at the Giles Free Clinic Open House.
The Free Clinic Honors Volunteers at Annual Reception
October 24, 2012
The Free Clinic of the New River Valley honored volunteers in an appreciation reception on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Special volunteer certificates were awarded to over 60 individuals for their long-term commitment, leadership and dedication to the Clinic’s mission.
The Clinic also honored local business owners and philanthropists, Margot and Joe Thompson, with a special recognition award for their visionary organization and execution of the first annual New River Valley Free Adult Dental Care Day. Held on September 14, 2012, NRV Free Adult Dental Care Day served to relieve the Family Dental Clinic’s 5-6 month backlogged waiting list. Over 135 volunteers saw 235 patients at 17 different locations throughout the New River Valley. Furthermore, Margot Thompson has volunteered at the Clinic for over twenty years helping to screen new patients for eligibility, serving as the receptionist for evening walk-in clinics, and assisting with several different office functions.
"Margot and Joe Thompson’s recognition is representative of the dedication and hard work of all the many volunteers at the Free Clinic," states Michelle Brauns, Executive Director. "The Thompsons’ effort and success in relieving the Family Dental Clinic’s wait list is truly unmatched and expanded our resources to reach the hundreds of under- or uninsured residents in need of affordable dental care in the New River Valley."
Michelle Brauns (left), presents Margot Thompson with a special
recognition award for the execution of the first annual NRV Free Adult Dental Care Day.
Debbie Suddarth (left), Director of Volunteer Relations, presents
Dan Kelly a recognition certificate for years of dedication as the volunteer Medical Director.
Kymn Davidson-Hamley (left), Executive Director of the United Way of Montgomery, Radford and Floyd talks with Molly Prater, Free Clinic Board member.
Free Clinic Announces Contribution from the Virginia Association of Free Clinics
October 18, 2012
The Free Clinic of the New River Valley (FCNRV) was selected to receive $17,566 from the Virginia Association of Free Clinics (VAFC) to be used to help fund behavioral health services for the uninsured in the community. The Free Clinic was one of four organizations chosen out of 23 applicants for this award, and one of two chosen for behavioral health services funding.
“We are so grateful for this generous contribution to our new behavioral health care model,” states Michelle Brauns, Executive Director of the FCNRV. “This donation will be a tremendous help in supporting our efforts to integrate behavioral health care into our medical home setting.”
The funds will support the Clinic’s move toward an Integrated Care Model of behavioral health services using a Collaborative Care approach. With this approach, behavioral health conditions are screened and tracked in medical settings using a multidisciplinary team of providers. The goal of the approach is to provide seamless holistic care to all patients, making it easier for behavioral health patients to access related medical care, specialty care, prescriptions, testing and diagnostics.
September 15, 2012
Free Clinic Recieves Recognition for Over $4,315,000 in Prescription Medication for Uninsured Patients
August 23, 2012
This summer, the Free Clinic of the New River Valley received a certificate in recognition of the $4,315,000 in free prescription medication that the Clinic has received for its low-income, uninsured patients through participation with the statewide nonprofit Rx Partnership (RxP) based in Richmond. RxP is a public/private partnership organization that provides access to free prescription medications for Virginia’s eligible uninsured through free clinic and community health center partners throughout the state.
The Free Clinic began participating as an Affiliate in 2004 and has seen significant benefits for its patients since that time.
“This past year, we provided nearly 14,000 prescriptions to our patients,” said Michelle Brauns, Executive Director. “This program allows us to provide our patients with a variety of brand name prescription medications that would otherwise be unaffordable.”
RxP relies on the support of the Virginia General Assembly, several foundations and six pharmaceutical manufacturers: GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Novartis, Abbott, Alcon and AstraZeneca. Because of these partners, 137 medications treating chronic and acute conditions such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, are available to Virginia’s eligible uninsured. The retail value of medication distributed through RxP to all Affiliates exceeds $80 million translating to more than 363,000 prescriptions for 46,500 unduplicated patients.
“Rx Partnership is pleased to recognize the outstanding success of the Free Clinic of the New River Valley in providing critical medication to clinic patients that helped improve patient health while avoiding costly emergency room visits,” said Amy Yarcich, RxP Executive Director. “While there is still much uncertainty regarding the implementation of health care reform, the clinics in Virginia have made a commitment to serving vulnerable populations today and into the future.”
Cindy Nelson, CPhT, Free Clinic Pharmacy Assistant (middle), receives the certificate from Amy Yarcich, Rx Partnership Executive Director (left) along with Michelle Brauns, Free Clinic Executive Director (right).
Free Clinic Announces New Board Members and Officers
August 10, 2012
The Free Clinic is pleased to announce newly-elected Board members and officers. Patricia Hyer, Associate Provost Emerita, Virginia Tech, has been active with the Clinic since 2009 and assumes the role of Board Chairman. She takes over for the Past-Chairman, Cathy Callahan, MD, VCOM.
Other Executive Officers include: Amy Westmoreland, Pharmacy Manager, Carilion Giles Community Hospital as Chairman Elect; and Michael Herndon, Director of University Summer Sessions, Virginia Tech, as Secretary.
Additionally, new Board members include:
James Bohland, Professor Emeritus of Public and International Affairs,
Tracy Cohn, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Radford University
Kristi Eaton, Accounting Supervisor, Celco Credit Union
Keith Finch, The Creekmore Law Firm
These individuals join existing members:
Joan Hirt, Professor, Virginia Tech
Cathy McDowell, Director of Orthopedics, HCA
Molly Prater, Branch Manager, Freedom First Credit Union
Anthony Ramsey, Assistant Professor, Radford University School of
Charlotte Ramsey, Chief Nursing Officer, Carilion New River Valley
Karen Eley Sanders, Associate Vice President for Academic Support
Services, Virginia Tech
Margot Thompson, Thompson Tire
Daniel Kelly, Ex-Officio, Physician, Carilion Family Practice, Radford
Pat Hyer, Board Chairman
Giles Free Clinic Receives HRSA Award to Establish Rural Health Network in Giles County
May 13, 2011
The Giles Free Clinic, a satellite of the Free Clinic of the New River Valley, was awarded a grant by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) totaling $481,130 over three years to create a rural health network that will integrate and expand access to primary and specialty health care services for the people of Giles County.
“The Network will bring together seven existing healthcare non-profit organizations to improve efficiencies and facilitate greater access to medical, dental and mental health care, health education and parenting workshops for Giles County residents,” states Michelle Brauns, Free Clinic Executive Director. The Giles Free Clinic and Carilion Giles Community Hospital will play key roles in the Network.
The Giles Free Clinic was originally founded in 2007 with a HRSA Rural Health Outreach Grant. The current grant will expand upon those activities by increasing the target population to include underserved children, by broadening the scope of operation
to available services in the County to include health navigation, and by facilitating the addition of critical transportation services and cultural training of health professionals.
“This project is significant because it is the first of its kind in the County to coordinate community involvement and facilitate inter-agency collaborations with the ultimate goal of improving the health status of residents,” states Brauns.
The Giles Free Clinic's application was one of 18 funded from a pool of 130 across the nation and the only grant awarded in Virginia.
Network Director, Shaun Merix, outside the Giles Free Clinic in Pearisburg
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