Legendary basketball superstar Michael Jordan is giving back to his community in a big way, and has opened a second medical clinic in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to offer critical care to underprivileged community members during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the 57-year-old former Chicago Bulls shooting guard unveiled the Michael Jordan Family Clinic on Freedom Drive, which he personally contributed $7 million to. The clinic, which provides much-needed access to primary and preventive care to low-income residents, is being operated by nonprofit healthcare group Novant Health Clinics.
During the October 2019 opening, the six-time NBA champion and owner of the Charlotte Hornets tearfully explained that “it’s a very emotional thing for me to be able to give back to a community that’s supported me over the years.”
Jordan has now opened a second clinic alongside Novant Health in hopes to provide comprehensive primary care to underserved communities.
“It gives my family great pride to know that we are making a difference in Charlotte,” Jordan told The Charlotte Observer.
While the opening of the second clinic has long been in the works, the timing couldn’t be better given the dire impact of the ongoing pandemic on people across the United States and especially the Black community.
In April, the Freedom Drive clinic became widely used as a respiratory assessment center where locals had free access to coronavirus “screening, testing, treatment and education.”
“When this clinic opened, I said ‘We’re here for the long haul. Not just in a crisis’,” said Novant Health CEO and president Carl Armato.
“In fact, the first clinic enabled us to better respond to the [coronavirus] crisis. It gave us the infrastructure to set up walk-up testing – no referral needed. It gave us a platform to educate and treat patients – close to home,” he added. “It even gave us a distribution point for our universal masking initiative, where we provided free masks to anyone who needed them. This second location is critical, as it expands our impact and reach.”
Over 14,000 tests for the deadly virus were provided while around 12,600 mobile health appointments were conducted, forcing the Michael Jordan Family Clinic to direct those in need of primary care to another location – and proving the need for the second clinic to urgently begin operations amid the spiking demand in treatment.
“When we came together to mark the first clinic’s opening last fall, no one could have predicted we would be facing a global pandemic just five months later,” Jordan said in a Zoom meeting to launch the new healthcare center.
“I’m so proud of the positive impact our clinic has had on the community so far, especially during [the pandemic],” he added. “Our second clinic will provide critical services to improve the health and lives of more Charlotteans, which is so important to me and to Novant Health.”
The new clinic will be opening on Statesville Ave. in the North End of Charlotte, and will include 12 patient exam rooms, an X-ray room, and a physical therapy center. A full-time clinical social worker will also be on-site.
“We are thrilled the North End community of Charlotte will have access to the same comprehensive care that is transforming lives at the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic in west Charlotte,” said Armato.
“The impact of the first clinic has been measurable and if [the coronavirus] has taught us anything, it is the importance of having accessible, safe and quality care in communities that need it most,” he continued.
“Michael Jordan’s commitment to improving the health of our communities, and society, is deep-rooted,” Armato added. “We’re so grateful to be his partner in bringing care and resources to those who would otherwise be without.”
Jordan is hopeful that the community has better days ahead.
“We’ve been dealt with some very difficult cards in 2020,” he commented.
“I hope 2021 is going to be much better.”
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