Drake University and Broadlawns Medical Center announced plans to construct a 12,000-square-foot medical center in a joint press conference held on Sept. 20.
Drake said the University will lease a vacant lot on the corner of 29th Street and University Avenue to Broadlawns for the new Broadlawns Community Clinic, which will serve Drake students, employees and the general public. The property will see construction beginning in May of 2022, with the clinic projected to be completed in August of 2023.
“Through this partnership with Broadlawns and this particular building, Drake students will receive, as they already do, medical and mental health services from providers and licensed therapists who are experts in young adult healthcare,” Drake President Marty Martin said during the press conference. “Working with Broadlawns has enabled us to have more counseling capacity than we’ve ever realized on our own, and we are particularly thankful for that.”
The new clinic will provide primary care, urgent care, mental health services and a rotation of specialty services, according to a press release from Drake and Broadlawns. These services will include vaccinations, wellness checks, and treatment of acute injuries and illnesses that are not emergencies, the press release said.
Drake Chief of Staff Nate Reagen said that “in general, [the clinic is] modeled after the [Broadlawns] East University Clinic.”
These new services build on the mental and physical health services provided at Drake’s American Republic Student Health Center, which include basic physical exams and allergy injections. The current student health center will be repurposed for another use, according to a press release from Drake and Broadlawns.
In a Sept. 20 email message to the Drake community, Martin said that Broadlawns will be funding the construction and operations of the clinic. He also said that the new clinic will “further strengthen” Drake’s relationship with Broadlawns as an academic partner for hands-on learning of athletic training, pharmacy, health sciences and occupational therapy.
Martin said that Drake faculty members and their dependents will be able to save “significant” money on health care expenses if they chose Broadlawns services. Reagen said that these incentives will begin on January 1, 2022.
“Employees and their dependents on our health [plan] will experience lower co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums for Broadlawns’ services,” Martin said in the email.
In addition to serving the Drake community, the partnership between Drake and Broadlawns intends to assist the surrounding neighborhoods as well. The clinic will be surrounded by walkable spaces and three DART bus stops, giving community members easy access to the building.
“The Broadlawns community clinic at Drake University will, in addition to serving our campus, provide much-needed medical services to a part of our city that lacks essential healthcare,” Martin said. “Whether a community member is walking to this facility or taking a bus or car, the clinic will be accessible.”
Broadlawns Board of Trustees member Dave Miglin said that the location will help mitigate a longstanding problem with the lack of healthcare access in the Drake neighborhood. According to Miglin, opening this community clinic aligns with Broadlawns’ mission to help bring affordable healthcare to those who might not otherwise have access to it.
“The Drake neighborhood was identified as a medically underserved community within Polk County,” Miglin said. “This location will most assuredly provide ease of access to community members as they commute to and from school. We very much look forward to bettering our community through this partnership and look forward to addressing the healthcare needs of Drake’s residents, students and staff.”
Miglin said that the partnership between a private university and public healthcare clinic sends a message about the importance of caring for one’s community.
“We are enabling access to affordable healthcare for those whose needs might otherwise go unmet,” Miglin said. “Through this collaborative effort, Broadlawns and Drake are demonstrating the capacity to work together to best meet the needs of the community. It’s an illustration of visionary leadership coming together to make a meaningful difference.”
Andrew Kennard contributed reporting to this article.