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Local Organization Opens Free Family Care Clinic For Hard-To-Reach Youth

Caitlin Coningham working with a patient at the clinic. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Caitlin Coningham working with a patient at the clinic. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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CBS Philly (con't)

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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The AIDS advocacy group Philadelphia Fight has transformed its family planning center into a family care clinic for youth. It has fast become a safe haven for some of the hardest to reach populations.

The third floor space on Locust Street is small. It has just one exam room, one lab, a wait area and a tiny office yet the line of patients was long.

“Since we’ve started providing primary care…we’ve seen double the amount of patients,” says Caitlin Coningham, who works for Family Care Clinic started by Fight’s Youth Health Empowerment Project, also know as Y-HEP. She says the clinic offered family planning for nearly a decade in the two weeks they’ve offered expanded care for youth 13 to 24, roughly 50 patients a week come in to see the full-time nurse practitioner for ailments ranging from a common cold to HIV.

“Folks are coming in from referrals, word of mouth,” she says.

African American and Latino men flock to the clinic, which is just feet away from Y-HEP’s drop in center for homeless youth.

“Young folks need to come somewhere they feel comfortable, where they feel other young people will be,” says Tiffany Thompson, program director at Y-HEP. She says the expanded clinic comes thanks to federal funds that will allow Y-HEP to see uninsured patients for free.  But given the demand, they are working to expand their space to meet the need.

Y-Hep executive director Tiffany Thompson. (Credit: Cherri Gregg).

Y-Hep executive director Tiffany Thompson. (Credit: Cherri Gregg).

“We’re going to be building a lot more spaces, a lot more offices, another exam room, lab,” says Thompson.

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