With so much blight throughout Flint’s Eastside, abandoned and burned down homes feel like the norm. Drive-by shootings have become commonplace. Flint is a city that has an extraordinary number of needs. They also have an infant mortality rate that nearly doubles the state of Michigan’s average of 6.6 deaths per 1,000 infants. Twice as many babies are dying in Flint as opposed to babies nationwide. Now, The Luke Clinic is offering some hope to mothers and babies.
With a successful program already entrenched in Detroit’s Westside at Family of God, The Luke Clinic is partnering with the Flint Mission Network to offer free health and prenatal care to mothers and babies in the community. They will serve twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. As in Detroit, the clinic is equipped with the highest quality health care workers, providing relationship-based services and compassion to the mothers and babies.
Earlier this month, Rev. Christian Jones, Pastor at Franklin Avenue Mission and Executive Director of the Flint Mission Network, led a dedication service and blessing to welcome the clinic to Flint. After a couple years of planning, Rev. Jones was very excited to see this happen. “Bringing this kind of medical care, especially from University of Michigan and Hurley Hospita,l and having it accessible to moms and families, that’s incredible,” he said.
Like Rev. Jones, Penny Armbruster, the Executive Director of The Luke Clinic, was thrilled to see this take place. She has been working for the past two years to make sure the clinic can thrive in Flint and the mission can prosper. Whether it’s the effects of lead in the water, or maybe a lack of access to mental health, Armbruster said there could be several reasons for the high infant mortality rate. “Despite having a wonderful hospital system here, we have run across people who are clearly disenfranchised with the medical system and don’t really have hope of getting the medical care they need,” Armbruster said. “They are just used to arriving at the ER and delivering without the prenatal care they need.”
The Luke Clinic will work to fill in those gaps. Armbruster feels blessed to have already formed partnerships in the community. She said, “There are so many people who are coming in and coming alongside and stepping up just to say, ‘Let us walk through this with you, you are not on your own anymore. How can we help and what do you need?’”
Photos and video by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS