March 27th, 2020
By Carey Rothschild
(Note: Our focus today remains squarely on supporting our clients, the health care system, and our community through the COVID-19 crisis, and on practicing social distancing and other measures to limit the spread of the virus. So, for now, a date for our move to the Northside is unknown. At the same time, we feel like it is important right now to assure people that we will get through this difficult time and that our plans to continue expanding our work in the community have not changed.)
After operating from two different offices on or adjacent to the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center campus for nearly 10 years, AccessHealth Spartanburg and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Community Health staff is looking forward to moving into brand-new offices on Howard Street in the heart of the Northside.
Our physical home will only move about half a mile as the crow flies. But in both symbolism and impact, this is much bigger than the geographic distance would seem to indicate.
Choosing to locate in a new building on Howard Street is indicative not just of AccessHealth Spartanburg and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s commitment to serving the low-income, uninsured population — it also represents a significant investment in our community, one that transcends the kind of traditional investments hospitals make.
To be sure, you can trust that SRHS will continue to be focused on providing the best medical care. This includes a wide range of investments, from recruiting and retaining world-class physicians to ongoing investments in technology and facilities.
This also means taking a broader view of health and what builds healthier communities. And increasingly, this includes examining ways to reach and help people outside our walls. Founding AccessHealth Spartanburg a decade ago was a major step on that journey. The same was true when SRHS became one of the initial investors in the City of Spartanburg’s Northside Initiative, a massive community revitalization project.
If we’ve learned anything over the past 10 years, it’s that care navigation and complex case management requires looking beyond the treatment of symptoms. It means traveling ever farther upstream to address the underlying causes of poor health in general, and the disparity in health outcomes in particular.
Those causes are complex and largely rooted in historical issues of inequality and access. Placing our office in what for decades was perhaps Spartanburg’s most challenged neighborhood signals our commitment to ensuring greater access to the services people need to improve their health and their lives.
More directly, it puts AccessHealth Spartanburg closer to the people we serve. While the Northside is quickly becoming a mixed-income neighborhood of choice, today it is part of one of our community’s highest poverty census tracts.
In addition to being located along a city bus line, the new location is also across the street from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. And we will be next door to VCOM’s new community health clinic where soon medical students under the supervision of the medical school’s faculty will provide a variety of low-cost and free services. VCOM is already one of our closest and most valued partners, and we are excited about the possibilities that might emerge after we become neighbors.
And we can’t wait to see the first AHS clients come through the doors! That moment will mark a major milestone for community health and underscore the progress we have made over the past decade. At AccessHealth, we will also use it to remind ourselves of the challenges we still face as we work with our partners to improve health outcomes and health equity.
If you would like to learn more about that work or find out how you can join us, email or call me at 864.560.0198. I would love to hear from you.
Carey Rothschild is the Director of Community Health Policy & Strategy for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.