ELMIRA, NY (WENY) - The Elmira Economic Opportunity Program plans to build a new Community Health Clinic. The project became possible after receiving a Member and Community Health Improvement grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. 

EOP will be awarded $120,000 over three years. In addition to Excellus, EOP teamed up with The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Arnot, and the Chemung County Health Department in carrying out this project. The clinic plans to have screenings for lead, diabetes, and other behavioral disorders.  

Lead exposure in children has been a long-time problem in the local community. CEO of EOP Inc. Andrea Ogunwumi voiced how the new clinic would cater to this and many other local health issues. 

“If lead levels are high, it puts a child at a disadvantage,” Ogunwumi said. “It can stunt their level of intelligence, it can later even show up in adults as levels of violence. So, being able to prevent this is so key... for our entire community.” 

Regional President of the Southern Tier Region Jessica Renner expressed what she wanted out of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s investment. 

“We want to be able to help have measurable outcomes,” Renner said. “If we can invest this money over the three years and help put the infrastructure in place, in the community, we know for the long run it's going to provide those services that our community needs.” 

LECOM plans to send medical students to help staff the clinic. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Richard Terry, D.O., M.B.A. feels this opportunity allows LECOM students to help their community while gaining professional experience. 

“It’s certainly consistent with our mission,” Terry said. “Getting our students out there under the supervision of... seasoned attending physicians to do this. Gets them right out there at the ground level, making a difference.