When I joined the Board of Directors, Arlington Free Clinic had just celebrated its 20th Anniversary. It’s hard to believe that five years have already passed!
A lot has changed during this time—big, visible transformations like our reconstructed space are apparent the moment you step inside. As a Board member, I’ve also had a front-row seat to some of the more inconspicuous changes driving organizational excellence and improving patient care at all junctures. Below are a handful of areas where I’ve seen great growth over the last five years:
- Physical growth: for three years, dental had been housed a mile away in borrowed County space. This gave us the opportunity to begin meeting dental needs, but part-time access to only one chair limited growth. Last year, we reconfigured our space to make room on site for a dental clinic with triple the capacity! The project also made it possible to renovate our pharmacy and move administrative staff into adjacent workspace with room for future growth.
- Programmatic evolution: the transformation of our dental clinic from start-up to three-fold expansion is one of many advancements I’ve witnessed while on the Board. Our wellness program has grown from Zumba and yoga a couple of times a month to the deliberate, weekly fixture described on page 2. Several years ago, our nursing team could talk anecdotally about how housing conditions, food insecurity, and other social factors were impacting their patients’ health. Today, we’re using a validated survey tool (LINK TO NW ARTICLE) developed in conjunction with Arlington DHS, Arlington Pediatric Center, Virginia Hospital Center, and George Mason University to screen all patients for needs beyond the waiting room—and refer them for appropriate resources.
- Leadership development: I joined the Board as the leadership team was beginning to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of this committed body of individuals. Since then, we’ve overhauled our Board commitment form; established three active new committees to complement the existing Clinical Services and Finance committees (each member now serves on at least one committee); and have begun holding an annual Board retreat. We also invested in our staff leadership team who participated in a two-year development program culminating in strategic projects to fortify our volunteer model—the foundation of our care—and effectively manage the change brought on by shifts in health policy and moving dental on site.
We’ve grown a lot over the past five years—not to mention, from our early days operating one night a week out of the hallways of Thomas Jefferson Middle School. With the pursuit of excellence at its core, I’m excited to see how Arlington Free Clinic will grow over the next five years and beyond!
Adam R. Hess, JD
Read our entire 2019 Annual Report here.
Susana: From 12 Medications to Healthy & Strong
Moving with Patients Toward Better Health
An Epic Transition to a New Electronic Health Record System
AFC Highlights, July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019
Volunteer Profile: María Teresa
Why We Support Arlington Free Clinic: Dana & Ray Koch
Practice Spotlight: Novant Health Imaging