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Health-care clinic director named in East St. Louis

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s School of Nursing has managed the WE CARE Clinic in East St. Louis for more than 20 years, with the mission of providing comprehensive evidence-based primary care services to people in the Metro East area.

Longtime clinic contributor Jerrica Ampadu, PhD, RN, CCP, has been named the clinic’s new director. Under her leadership, the clinic seeks to improve patient access to care through increased connection with potential clientele, boost student participation and offer virtual and telephonic access.

“I am excited to be director at the WE CARE Clinic,” said Ampadu, an SIUE alumna and native East St. Louisan. “It will better allow me the opportunity provide health-care services to underserved and vulnerable populations, specifically residents of East St. Louis and surrounding communities.”

“We plan to develop a marketing plan tailored specifically to the residents of East St. Louis,” said Ampadu. “East St. Louis is a strong faith-based community. Therefore, we will partner with local churches and faith-based organizations to provide health education.” Ampadu, who has been a nurse for the past 23 years, earned her bachelor’s and master’s in nursing from SIUE in 1997 and 2002, respectively.

“The clinic’s full-time health educator will spend a significant amount of time in the community providing education and resources,” she continued. “We will work with residents, community leaders and local organizations to identify the needs of the community, potentially expanding the services we currently provide. We hope to increase access to care by being more visible within the community.”

The WE CARE Clinic is located in Building D at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus, 601 James R. Thompson Blvd. in East St. Louis.

“Our physical location may contribute to the lack of community awareness, as we are not visible on a main thoroughfare,” explained Ampadu. “Recently, I had the privilege of attending several local events, and I spoke with residents, some of whom did not know about the WE CARE Clinic or the services we provide.”

The clinic partners with both the SON and the SIUE School of Pharmacy to provide undergraduate and graduate nursing and pharmacy students experiences in primary health care, with a focus on chronic conditions. It has an interprofessional team, which includes a nurse practitioner, patient advocate (registered nurse), medical assistants, health educator, social worker and pharmacist. Ampadu is working to increase the level of SIUE student participation with the clinic, which includes involving students from the Department of Social Work.

Another enhancement Ampadu is planning is to provide patients with virtual and telephonic access.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to identify ways to interact with our patients, other than face-to-face,” she added.

Ampadu began working at SIUE as a part-time clinical instructor in fall 2003, a full-time instructor in fall 2007 and an assistant professor in fall 2016. She began teaching Nursing 475 Community Health and managing the asthma program at the WE CARE Clinic in August 2018. Ampadu is the primary investigator of the Clinic’s nurse educator and asthma grants. In August 2019, she was named as the Clinic’s interim director and was selected Feb. 1 as the director.

The WE CARE Clinic provides primary patient care on the SIUE East St. Louis Higher Education Campus, located on campus in Building D. Advanced Practice Nurses, a collaborating physician, a licensed clinical social worker, certified health coaches and a doctorly prepared pharmacist provide full services to diverse clients in the Metro East or other local communities.

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