For Immediate Release         Tuesday October 20, 2009  


Charles Drew University Gives Urgent Care Clinic 30 Days

  Officials at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science said Tuesday they plan to wind down and suspend operation of the university’s Urgent Care Clinic over the next 30 days, unless a new healthcare funding partner is found to help run the facility in the Watts/Willowbrook community.

 Charles Drew University opened the state-of-the-art clinic last year to help address the enormous healthcare need in South L.A. “This clinic is our investment in the community, and reflects the university's ongoing commitment to improving healthcare in poor and underserved communities,” said Dr. Richard Baker, Dean, College of Medicine & Director, Clinical Affairs, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

 CDU’s Urgent Care Clinic, located in the Kenneth Hahn Plaza, 11722 South Wilmington Avenue, was designed to meet many of the needs of South Los Angeles’ patient population including the uninsured, and underinsured. The primary purpose of an Urgent Care Clinic is to increase access to walk in care (including nights and weekends) and to decrease the necessity to obtain non emergent care from overcrowded, high priced emergency rooms.

“We would love to keep the clinic open, but it’s just not feasible in the current economic climate,” said Dr. Keith C. Norris, Interim President of Charles Drew University. ”Similar to virtually every university in the state and the nation, we are severely financially challenged and must make hard decisions to preserve our educational mission.”

The modern, state of the art clinic has electronic medical records, six exam rooms, diagnostic and testing equipment, a digital X-ray machine, on-site laboratory services (utilizing outside lab services when needed) and is even telemedicine ready. The clinic has university quality, board certified physicians, physician assistants and a bilingual staff and was designed to provide the community with the highest quality of care at a price affordable to community residents.

Dr. Norris said small, private educational institutions like Charles Drew have been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis. Earlier this year, the university laid off faculty and staff, cut executive pay and eliminated some programs in an effort to close a thorny budget gap and remain true to its core mission.

 Negotiations have been initiated with several provider organizations and funding agencies. However, on Tuesday, university faculty, staff and clinic employees were told that, unless an outside provider stepped in, the facility would close in 30 days.

 The decision wasn’t an easy one. After about a year of operation, the clinic has participated in numerous health fairs and health screenings, built relationships with local churches, schools and businesses and developed agreements with over two dozen medical groups, health plans and healthcare facilities in the area. However, health care clinics need capital and time to grow, a luxury in the current recession.

  For more information, please contact:
John L. Mitchell
Media Advisor at
Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science
Telephone: (323) 563-4981 or cell (323) 681-4225

1731 East 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059
p 323 563 4987  f 323 563 5987

Pioneering in Health and Education