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a508: Ex-singer's clinic serves immigrants (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Ex-singer's clinic serves immigrants

Nurse and one-time Haitian singing sensation Anna Pierre has her own
solution to the skyrocketing cost of healthcare in America.

It's called education, and it's free.

Eight months ago, Pierre opened her North Miami clinic
dedicated to bringing health awareness to South Florida's immigrants, many
of whom avoid regular checkups because they lack health insurance.
The Anna Pierre Health Education Center at 12402 West Dixie Hwy. offers
information on a variety of ailments, in a variety of languages. The center
also performs free screenings for conditions like diabetes and high blood

Pierre says preventive care is the key to avoiding more serious trips to the
emergency room.

``It saves money, and it saves lives,'' Pierre said.

Back in 1989, Pierre's voice dominated the airwaves of Haitian radio.
Through her hit single vin mete sik sou bonbon-m (come put sugar on my bun),
Pierre made the acquaintance of quite a few disk jockeys. Today, she uses
those contacts to get health-related public service announcements on the

Pierre also stars in a half-hour TV show on local cable channel 23 titled
Health Capsule (Capsule Sante).'' It airs Fridays at 8 p.m.

More and more people are noticing Pierre's efforts, and her clinic. It nows
serves nearly three times as many patients as it did when it opened in

Pierre formed the health education center in 1990. In the years before the
clinic opened, Pierre ran the agency from her home.

Although small amounts of grant money have recently started to flow into the
clinic's coffers, Pierre is still its financial backbone. Most of the staff
are unpaid volunteers.

Volunteer nurse Ellen Gilligan thinks one of the clinic's most important
features is its referral service. When workers at the clinic encounter
patients with a severe illness, they refer them to a public healthcare
center, such as Jackson Memorial Hospital. Such centers price their services
on a sliding scale so that people of any economic means can have access to

Gilligan says many immigrants don't know such places exist.

``People are going around so sick because they don't have the money to pay
$80 to see a private doctor,'' she said.

Pierre's clinic is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 5 to 8
p.m. Hours on Saturday are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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