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Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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San Fernando Health Facility Will Reinvigorate Old Hospital

Starting next month, the new San Fernando Community Campus for Health and Education will provide dental, podiatry and optometric services to the residents of San Fernando and surrounding areas. Mission Community Hospital’s San Fernando campus at 732 Mott Street has sat empty for the last two years, when the hospital’s behavioral health patients moved to the new Panorama City campus. The hospital, which leases the land from the city on a long-term, inexpensive rate, turned to CSUN health administration professor Jerome Seliger five years ago to help plan for the building’s future. Seliger said that the clinic was set up to treat diabetes patients, a disease that affects an inordinate number of people in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. These patients often need services that the facility provides. “If we can keep people healthy enough and treat them well enough to save them some of these problems, that’s the aim of this (clinic), Seliger said.” “Diabetes is a major concern, as it is with all Latino communities,” said San Fernando City Administrator Jose Pulido. “The services this facility will provide expands upon the services we have available. In some cases, it brings the services under one roof. This is the first true collaboration where we have the city working with multiple non-profits in order to bring essential services to our community.” The Partners in Care Foundation will be occupying part of the building alongside the clinics, moving its headquarters to San Fernando from Burbank. The group’s mission is to work with community groups, donors and health care providers to help uninsured people get the medical assistance they need. “This is a great use for the building,” said Pulido. “We’re basically reinvigorating our community with an old city facility that had fallen into a state of disrepair. We’ve been able to convert it into something beneficial for the community.” The dentistry clinic will be staffed by a UCLA professor and two students who will be available for appointments two days a week. Seliger hopes to gradually increase the availability to five days as more students participate in the clinic. By the end of October or early November, Seliger said he hopes to establish an optometry clinic with professors and students from the Southern California College of Optometry, and by the first of a year he hopes to have the podiatry clinic up and running. The hospital has spent $860,000 remodeling 10,000 square-feet of space in the 24,000 square-foot building, Seliger sent. The federal government provided about a third of that money in grants, and the hospital raised the remainder through private foundations. When the hospital approached Seliger to help them find a new use for the building, which had served the community as a hospital since the 1920s, he was told that it was important to make sure the community’s needs were still being served. “This is a very stable neighborhood, many people around here were born in the hospital or their children were born here,” said Seliger. Dr. Jose Hernandez, who was mayor of the city when Seliger started his work and still sits on the City Council, also emphasized the importance of making sure the building was used as an educational resource. To that end, Seliger hopes that in the coming years, the students staffing the clinic will come to seen as role models for area children. “What’s wonderful about this is that we have an excellent relationship with the area’s public schools,” said Seliger. “San Fernando High School is a block away. What we’re going to do eventually is open a mentoring, tutoring education program in sciences for these kids. We’ll have volunteers, our optometrists and podiatrists all wearing medical outfits they’ll be role models for the children next door.”

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