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Clinic At Edward Waters College Opening To Improve Health Care Coverage In Underserved Area

Lindsey Kilbride

People in the northwest area of Jacksonville will now have more access to health care.

The Schell-Sweet Community Healthcare Clinic on Edward Waters College campus offers services tailored to its surrounding community.


On Wednesday, Dr. John Assi cut the ribbon marking the grand opening of his new clinic.

“When I saw this much community support I said, ‘You know what? This is the place to go ahead and open and don’t look back,’” Assi said. “This is a project for the community, not just for me.”

Dr. John Assi has been a pediatrician in Jacksonville for about 30 years.

“‘Don’t turn anybody down,’” Assi said. “‘Children come first,’ has been my philosophy from day one, from the first day that I opened an office.”

The clinic is on Edward Waters College campus, in the 32209 ZIP code. It’s in an area of city with low incomes and relatively poor health.

Patricia Medlock with the Florida Department of Children and Families helped guide the clinic’s mission. She says it’s community-driven.

“We don’t have a lot of clinics in this area,” Medlock said. “We didn’t have a lot of access to care. So what we were finding was a lot of the folks that live here were accessing care through Shands.”

Shands is the old name for UF Health Jacksonville, a safety-net hospital that serves many uninsured patients. Medlock says if patients don’t have health insurance, the new clinic has people on staff to figure out a solution.

“If someone does come it that doesn’t have coverage,” Medlock said, “they’re going to find a way.”

Schell-Sweet offers a wide range of services from pediatrics to mental health, and also social services, like parenting classes and food distribution. The clinic has partnerships with more than 25 service providers.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.