Nonprofit health clinic expands to accommodate more refugee patients

The Clarkston-based Ethne Health also has plans to open a dental clinic.

A metro Atlanta nonprofit health clinic serving immigrants and refugees has expanded.

Since its 2018 opening, Ethne Health has offered discounted primary care with free translation to the refugee hub of Clarkston, where cost, language, and transportation barriers otherwise keep many residents from accessing care.

The new location on Rowland Street is meant to accommodate Ethne’s growth: The clinic went from seeing nine patients in its first month to more than 700 each month.

“The new space offers new and exciting opportunities to serve more patients in more ways,” said Dr. Robert Contino, CEO and co-founder of Ethne Health. “We’re so grateful to our many partners — including the City of Clarkston, DeKalb County, and Send Relief — who have joined with us in our mission to address health inequity in our communities and offer an accessible medical home to those left behind by our healthcare system.”

Among the ribbon cutters at an opening ceremony over the weekend was Clarkston Mayor Beverly Burks.

Ethne’s former location will be renovated and repurposed into a dental clinic, which could start operating as soon as 2023.

Lack of access to dental care has been a persistent health challenge inside refugee communities. Advocates say bad teeth take an underdiscussed toll on refugees’ quality of life, exposing newcomers to physical pain and even social stigma, of the kind that can restrict access to certain jobs and even delay the process of integration.

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