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Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Special to the Star-Bulletin
Rendering of the new Kokua Kalihi Valley clinic
on North School Street.

Kalihi health center
to offer more service

By Helen Altonn


Kokua Kalihi Valley (Comprehensive Health Services) is building a $6.2 million, two-story health center at 2239 North School St. that it hopes will attract more clients.

"We will focus on an integrated approach to health with more than a dozen different types of services," said Michael Epp, programs coordinator.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation was to present $1.77 million to KKV today to complete its capital improvement fund drive.

The Queen Emma Foundation provided $1.5 million for the new facility.

Many other foundations, businesses, organizations, the state and city-county also contributed to the project, Epp said.

The 11,000-square-foot physical plant will be called the Weinberg Community Complex.

The services inside will be named the Charles Judd Community Health Center in honor of the late Dr. Charles Judd, who started medical services in Kalihi in 1972 in a public housing apartment shared by the Mother's Sewing Club.

Epp said Judd's friends and family donated $70,000 for the new facility and the KKV staff contributed $26,000. The organization also is conducting a community campaign in hopes of raising $50,000 from users and residents so they "will feel part of it," he said.

After Judd initiated KKV, it started offering medical and dental services from two military surplus trailers in a church parking lot.

Now, 80 staff members offer a wide range of services in 17 languages in a 4,000-square-foot health center at 1846 Gulick Ave. and four other locations, including three in public housing.

About 30 students receive training there every year in pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology and community health.

KKV provides medical and dental services to about 5,600 clients annually _ most below the federal poverty level and many who are new Asian and Pacific island immigrants.

Services include perinatal, family planning, nutrition (Women, Infants and Children), immunization, STD/HIV testing, mental health, health education, elderly and social services, transportation, translation, outreach, professional education and community advocacy.

Also, Epp said, "We use youth recreation as a way to provide health services and mentoring to kids." Since many children won't go to the center, the center takes services to them in five schools, he said.

A dental program also was offered in four schools, with 95 percent of the kids screened for teeth sealants.

Epp said many more clients are expected when the new facility is completed in November because of its location and increased visibility. The current building is on an obscure cul de sac, he said. The new one is being built outside the entrance to Kuhio Park Terrace and is within walking distance of Kalihi Valley Homes and Hauiki Homes, all public housing projects.

The present health facility was built by prison inmates in 1985 for $185,000 with the mission "to be an agent for healing and reconciliation in the Kalihi Valley Community."

Zoning laws prohibited KKV from physically expanding its current facility, on land leased from Kalihi Baptist Church.

It must be returned if not used for human services, Epp said. But with a huge rise in the aging population, he said, KKV wants to establish an elder center there with community-based geriatric care.

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