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Monday, May 27, 2024

Novant breaks ground on Wilmington’s first Michael Jordan clinic

Novant Health broke ground on the first of two Michael Jordan clinics coming to the greater Wilmington area next year. (Courtesy Novant)

WILMINGTON — Novant Health is one step closer to bringing affordable healthcare to the doorsteps of underserved areas in Wilmington. The healthcare entity broke ground Tuesday at 1410 S. 15th St. for its first Michael Jordan clinic.

The basketball legend announced over a year-and-a-half ago a $10 million donation to build two facilities in his hometown. Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics offer comprehensive primary care and mental health services.

READ MORE: Second Michael Jordan clinic to serve Wilmington’s eastside community

The 15th Street location is positioned at the intersection of Greenfield Street near the New Hanover County Health and Human Services Department. The county donated land for its development in the summer of 2021.

Nearby is a concentrated area of poverty, with Wilmington Housing Authority’s Houston Moore property; 96% are Black residents and 72% of households include children.

The Michael Jordan clinics aim to help historically marginalized populations bridge the gap in poverty and health disparities by providing access without barriers. It also aims to increase trust among health professionals and the patients they serve, specifically by diversifying staff.

“We know for sure that when the provider and the patient are of the same race, particularly for Black and Hispanic patients, the clinical outcomes are better,” Dr. Philip Brown, chief community impact officer for Novant Health, told Port City Daily in midsummer. “Filling that gap is critical if we’re going to deliver equitable health.”

The goal is to target proactive health management, to help prevent people from having unnecessary hospital stays and trips to the emergency room for ailments that may have been overlooked for years.

A committee convened in recent months to refine the first clinic’s design and implementation; it’s slated to open by next year.

Novant announced earlier in the summer a second location would service the eastside community of Wilmington, near Creekwood which serves a Census tract of people, 35%, living below the poverty line. The health entity purchased an undeveloped 3.4-acre lot for $247,000 from the Wilmington Housing Authority.

Design work is in progress at 3009 Princess Place Dr., located beside Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and across from the Prince Mini Mart at Princess Place Drive and 30th Street. The second clinic is scheduled to open in 2024.

Novant Health and Jordan partnered three years ago to open two Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics in Charlotte. The NBA Charlotte Hornets owner donated $7 million to upstart the facilities.

Jordan’s gift to Wilmington will reach the uninsured and underinsured, which approximately consists of 24,000 people in New Hanover County. The clinics will accept Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and self-pay, and have a financial assistance policy to cover expenses for individuals earning less than 300% of federal poverty level. 

“We are grateful to Michael Jordan for his vision in supporting a different way to provide healthcare to communities that could greatly benefit,” Brown stated in a press release Tuesday.

CATCH UP: Previous coverage on the clinic

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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