NORMAN — When the staff of Health for Friends Women and Children’s Center officially opened its doors on Nov. 12, they knew that this was just the beginning.
“It’s been a wonderful journey that we are continuing on. I can’t wait to see the waiting room packed with kids.” Brian Karnes, CEO of Health for Friends, said. “It’s such a huge step, I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet that we’ve made it here.”
Health for Friends, a non-profit medical clinic for low-income families that has been in operation for more than 27 years, opened the clinic to the community in hopes to provide an alternative medical facility.
“We’re not just urgent care, we want to be the long-term provider,” Karnes said.
The 3,000 square foot same day clinic has four pediatric rooms, all which will have different themes. The clinic will provide wellness exams to women and children. The pediatric clinic offers everything that a pediatrician’s office would offer for newborns to age 18, including sports physicals, well child checks and vaccinations.
The clinic has been in the works for about a year when the Health for Friends board and management team came together to look at services that were lacking in Norman for the uninsured, and for those that were on Medicare and Medicaid.
“The pediatric clinic was one that kept coming up. We decided to start looking for a facility because our original offices were completely full with all the services that we have there. So we knew we couldn’t expand there. We looked for another site that we all could move into, but there is just not that kind of space,” Karnes said.
In May, the space at 1124 N. Porter Ave. was rented by Health for Friends and the building of its staff began.