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Free clinic welcomes new director

Several dozen volunteers gathered March 24 at the Dungeness Health & Wellness Clinic

to meet and greet their new director, Rose Gibbs, R.N., and say farewell to outgoing director Jamie Goodwin.

Gibbs, most recently from San Jose, Calif., has a hospital-based background as a director of nursing. She will begin her duties today in the clinic's expanded quarters at 777 N. Fifth Ave., Sequim.

Goodwin is leaving to spend more time with her family.

Gibbs' hope for the free clinic, she said, "will be determined by what the community needs, what's missing."

Ever since Mary Griffith, R.N., recruited volunteers seven years ago to bring primary care to people in Clallam County without insurance, the clinic and its programs have grown, thanks in large part to its board's vision, plus financial support from local businesses.

In a program begun in 2008, Larry Ger-

main, ARNP, sees patients with chronic diseases by appointment for follow-ups after they've seen one of the volunteer medical providers.

"The (existing) chronic care project is a superb way to manage people with chronic diseases. It's really a strength for the clinic," Gibbs said.

"The biggest challenge is keeping the volunteers happy. I've never worked in an environment where people volunteered," she said.

Gesturing around the room at the mingling volunteers, she noted, "This is a very committed and compassionate group of people. My job is to keep them content in what they're doing."

Included among the 50 or so volunteers are physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and administrative support staff. The only paid part-time positions at the nonprofit clinic are those of the director, bookkeeper and chronic health care provider.

The clinic provides primary care and chronic care services, dental referrals and wellness education to the uninsured and underinsured of Clallam County.

In 2007, the clinic had 900 visits and ended 2008 with 1,200. Patients are seen first come, first served, beginning at 5 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.

For more information, call 582-0218 or see www.sequimfreehealthclinic.com.

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