Community Health


Hometown Health Care & Wicker Wellness Center will be the focus of this week

Check out Hometown Health Center on Instagram!

There are a few different communities within the local vicinity that are quite separate.There is a population of people who might have lower access to healthcare because of their lower socioeconomic status, these people inhabit the neighborhoods near Van Vranken Avenue as well as Hamilton Hill and Vale and Eastern Avenue. Then there is the community of students at Union College in the middle of those neighborhoods. These communities mostly access healthcare through different mediums.

Union College’s Wicker Wellness Center

Hometown Health Center is a local healthcare facility with locations in Schenectady and Amsterdam. The facilities mission statement outlines that their primary goal is to provide quality and preventative care to “anyone seeking care, regardless of income,” (Hometown Health Centers). The facilities provide both medical and dental care thus, patients seeking care for their physical, mental or dental health will be treated. Offering a wide scope of care makes for greater accessibility for the community members who are uninsured or underserved. This one facility that provides many different treatment options has the ability to make a large difference for a community where there are likely a lot of uninsured and underserved individuals and families. Additionally, the Schenectady location is on State Street, in between Hamilton Hill and Vale/Eastern Avenue neighborhoods. Those two neighborhoods are the lowest income areas in Schenectady. Hometown Health is within walking distance of these neighborhoods, making the facility much more accessible to patients who might not have a car or enough money for bus or cab fare. Additionally, during the covid-19 pandemic Hometown Health has been offering telehealth appointments. However, due to the fact that some of their patients do not have access to a computer or are unable to access Zoom, they are sending computers with nurses on house calls so that the patients can speak with the physicians. The outreach of Hometown Health seems very promising, but there are still people who don’t have health insurance and cannot afford it.

The students of Union College seek care at the Wellness Center on campus for the most part. Students are required to have health insurance in order to attend, if they do not have health insurance on their own, the school provides health insurance for them and the fee is included in their tuition. The Wicker Wellness Center offers services for all students and is highly accessible, appointments are easy to schedule, or students can walk in if they need to. During covid-19, the counseling center is offering services over Zoom or the phone, any student can set up an appointment easily. Healthcare for students at the college is not difficult to access, anything they need, they are able to get via the health center or they can be referred through the health center.

These are vastly different situations for one community. The college is required to provide health care for students, which brings to light how privilege and education has an effect on access to healthcare. Public school systems are unable to offer health care to students, there is not appropriate funding for that. Nor is it a public government duty at this point in time to provide a community with health care services yet, on a smaller scale at a college this is achievable because students who have the means are able to pay for it.

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