Clarkston Community Health Center hires first director

Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC)—a comprehensive, free medical clinic that provides culturally sensitive health care to community members facing poverty—announced the hiring of its first executive director, Jeremy Cole.

Cole said he comes to CCHC with more than two decades of experience working for a range of nonprofit organizations, including Refugee Family Services in Clarkston and UNICEF USA.

According to Cole and CCHC officials, CCHC completed phase one of its initial plan—which consisted of treating at least 10,000 patients—and Cole will help the clinic expand to complete other goals.

“Jeremy brings a caring heart and passion for uplifting people’s lives. We are excited to welcome him back to Clarkston to share in our dream to build an overdue state-of-the-art health center for the underserved,” said CCHC co-founder Gulshan Harjee.

Cole added that the phases of CCHC’s plans that he will work on include raising more money, expanding into a new location, and ultimately serving more patients.

“The focus moving forward is on taking CCHC to the next phase of our organization’s growth as we plan toward moving into our new clinic once it is built. The ultimate goal of this next phase is to serve more patients – thus helping more individuals to be and stay healthy, which in turn helps the community be healthier,” said Cole.

He said some of the specifics of his plan include moving into a bigger and more centrally located facility, expanding service days and patient intake, hiring additional staff to assist volunteer providers, and investing in healthcare models that serve a diverse population concentrated on immigrants and refugees.

“We have proven the need, we have proven our solution to meet the need, and we are seeing transformation in our community, one patient at a time,” said Cole.

Cole has a Ph.D. in educational policy studies from Georgia State University and a certificate in nonprofit management from the Georgia Center for Non-Profits. He said he currently serves as co-chair of the Better Together Advisory Board for the city of Decatur and as a senior advisor for the global Child Friendly Governance Project.

CCHC is a volunteer-based health program that serves community members more than 200 percent below the poverty line. According to Harjee, the health clinic focuses on impoverished, immigrant, and refugee communities in and around Clarkston and other communities throughout DeKalb.

A news release states that CCH’s “ambitious plan to move into a new space” enables the organization to expand its impact to “Georgians who have been left behind …”.

Clinic officials added that Cole’s experience will help CCHC grow.

“We are extremely fortunate and grateful to have Jeremy join our organization to lead our most dedicated and passionate staff and volunteers. With his over two decades of successful experience in the nonprofit world, we feel that he is the right person to take us to the next level,” said CCHC co-founder Saeed Raees.

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