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CDU and APLA Health Host Rare ‘Indoor Ground Breaking’ On New Health Facility

By Sentinel News Service
Published December 12, 2019

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) and APLA Health (APLA) officially announced plans to move forward on a new building located on the CDU campus that would house a new CDU Wellness Center and an APLA clinic during a symbolic “indoor ground breaking” ceremony on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Plans for the upcoming 10,000 square-foot facility were formalized with a signed agreement between the two organizations in February 2019.

Upon its completion in 2020, the University’s Wellness Center will provide urgent care, mental health counseling and wellness programs to CDU students, faculty and staff, while the APLA clinic will provide primary medical care, dental care and behavioral health services to Service Planning Area (SPA) 6 residents through a Federally Qualified Health Center (“FQHC”) model.

CDU currently operates two HIV testing programs in the Drew Center for AIDS Research, Education, and Services (Drew C.A.R.E.S.) and the CDU/OASIS Clinic, the latter of which has been in existence for over 30 years. Throughout the last decade, CDU and APLA Health have developed a longstanding partnership through these programs, collaborating to ensure that HIV patients in SPA 6 and throughout South Los Angeles have access to quality dental care and food assistance. APLA Health’s enhanced capacity within the upcoming clinic will create a more robust HIV prevention continuum for at-risk individuals in SPA 6, which still maintains the second highest percentage of HIV/AIDS cases in L.A. County.

“Our goal with this new health center is to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the Willowbrook, Watts and Compton communities by providing culturally competent, convenient and accessible sexual health services, along with general medical, dental and behavioral health services,” said Craig E. Thompson, CEO of APLA Health. “We know that the fight to end the epidemic is about tailored local approaches to reducing the number of new infections and particularly addressing the continuing disparities and the issues that create those disparities.”

“Drew C.A.R.E.S. is very excited at the prospect of sharing this building with APLA, and we look forward to working together with them to continue to provide much-needed HIV/AIDS care, education and research to this under-resourced community,” said Drew C.A.R.E.S. faculty leader Nina Harawa, PhD, MPH.

“The partnership between APLA and CDU will bring another building to our campus, and add much-needed healthcare capacity to our community,” said CDU President/CEO David M. Carlisle, PhD, MD. “We are proud to stand with APLA Health in work that so clearly fits in with the mission of CDU, and that is so vital to the LA County HIV Strategic Plan, the statewide ‘End the Epidemics’ effort, and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.”