ALPENA–Alcona Health Center (AHC) last month commemorated the opening of its new medical facility in Iosco County with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Present at the event were members of the Chamber of Commerce, local officials, community partners and other honored guests.
After some initial delays, construction on the new building, located at 208 South State Street in downtown Oscoda began on June 1, 2020. The 20,000-square-foot, two-story facility was framed with an eye to the future with the possibility of expansion to a third floor.
Chief Executive Officer Nancy Spencer said, “Alcona Health Center is pleased to see the completion of this project. We feel this new modern facility is a great addition to the downtown area and will provide easier access for everyone. The building will house the same high-quality, comprehensive medical, behavioral health and dental services that Alcona Health Center currently offers. Expanded healthcare services will also be available through collaborations with community partners.“
AHC moved its existing medical and behavioral health services from the Aune Medical Building on the old Wurtsmith Air Base to the second floor of the new location on May 2. AHC Dental followed the next week, moving into their new home on the first floor of the new facility.
Additional space in the building is being leased by MyMichigan Health and Quest Diagnostics (lab services). MyMichigan is slated to move into their suite on the first floor in June and will be offering imaging services, rehabilitation services and specialty clinics.
An interactive virtual celebration and tour of the facility has been shared on social media and on the AHC website.
In other AHC news, Alcona also has entered into a new collaboration with MyMichigan Medical Center Midland to bring a rural track, family medicine residency program to Alpena County. This residency program allows licensed, recently graduated doctors, to continue their training in a hands-on environment. These residents receive mentorship and supervision from a Faculty Healthcare Provider while gaining real world experience and a better understanding of what it means to practice medicine in a rural setting.
MyMichigan Midland Family Medicine Residency – Alcona Health Center Campus will be located within the existing AHC location in Ossineke (11745 U.S. 23 South). Joining the AHC team will be Faculty Provider, Michelle LaFave, MD and second-year family medicine residents – Christian Grant, MD and David Westphal, MD.
Dr. Grant earned his medical degree from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, St. Maarten, Netherlands-Antilles. Dr. Westphal earned his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Both healthcare providers have chosen to further their training through the residency program at the Alcona Health Center Campus in Ossineke for the next two years. Under the guidance and supervision of their Faculty Provider, they will begin seeing patients in early July of 2022.
Dr. LaFave will be filling the role of a faculty provider for the family medicine residents. She has considerable experience practicing Family Medicine in rural northeast Michigan and brings a passion for teaching to the role. Dr. LaFave will directly oversee the residents, mentoring them during appointments and reviewing patient charts. “I am excited to bring my experience in family medicine in a rural setting to this venture!” she stated. “Mentoring the family doctors in this setting achieves community healthcare needs now and is the way forward in adjusting to future needs.”
Patients who establish care with Dr. Grant or Dr. Westphal will benefit from the care of two healthcare providers reviewing their chart and attending to their healthcare needs – a licensed, recent medical school graduate and the experience of Dr. LaFave.
Those interested in establishing care with either Dr. Grant or Dr. Westphal are encouraged to phone the health center at (989) 471-2156. While they do not start seeing patients until July, appointments for both providers are currently being scheduled.
In 2023, two additional family medicine residents will join the program. Residents participating in the MyMichigan Family Medicine Residency program who choose the rural track at the Alcona Health Center Campus will each be seeing patients at the Ossineke office for two years. There will be up to four residents in the program at a time. Additional information about the program can be found at mymichigan.org/residency and at alconahealthcenters.org/location/Ossineke-clinic/
“We are excited to collaborate with MyMichigan Medical Center Midland to bring this rural track family medicine residency to Alpena County,” said Spencer. “Not only do we have the opportunity to expand access to healthcare in our community through the residency program, we also hope that the experience the residents have in northeast Michigan encourage them to stay in the area to practice.”
“The residency program is so excited to partner with the Alpena community and Alcona Health Center to train residents in a rural setting. We know that physicians tend to stay in or near the community where they train and hope that this endeavor will continue to grow primary care in Northern Michigan,” adds Dr. Kelly Hill, MyMichigan Midland Family Medicine Program Director.
–Courtesy of Alcona Health Centers