BALDWIN — Baldwin Family Health Care is welcoming the community Friday to unveil recent renovations and celebrate its 50-year legacy.
In the midst of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 initiative “War on Poverty,” a group of researchers in northern Michigan began to assess strategies for bringing services such as dental care to rural communities. In 1967, Baldwin Family Health Care became the first “one-stop shop” for health care in Michigan, and the third in the country.
Before centers like Family Health Care, now with six locations in Michigan, many rural communities faced low life expectancy and high infant mortality.
“Basic health care needs were not being met,” CEO of Baldwin Family Health Care Kathy Sather said.
With the advent of community health centers, she said, people in rural communities gained access to basic services and more. The Baldwin center provides medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, radiology, lab and vision services.
Many health issues can overlap, Sather explained. For example, one’s gums and teeth can help doctors determine risks of heart disease or diabetes.
“”There are a lot of things that determine one’s health,” she said. “Extreme stress can affect one’s health. We know the mind-body link. If you don’t have a lot of resources, you might not be able to eat the right food.
“There are a lot of things we try to address for our patients. It doesn’t matter where they come from or what income level they have.”
New renovations helped streamline communication among these services, Sather said. The overall project of about $2.5 million added about 1,900 square feet to the facility, increasing exam rooms and dental rooms and expanding the pharmacy. The facility also extended its open hours.
The previous building presented issues in workflow, while the new design allows departments to better interact, Sather explained.
“Our building needed to reflect the quality care that is given out of this building,” she said.
An open house begins Friday at 2 p.m. with a ceremony and speakers. Refreshments and a tour of new facilities will follow.
Baldwin Family Health Care, located at 1615 Michigan Avenue in Baldwin, is open Monday-Friday until 8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Family Health Care is a nonprofit organization with locations in Baldwin, Cadillac, Grant, McBain and White Cloud.