Luke Clinic Helps Expectant Mothers Overcome Barriers to Health Care in Flint, Detroit

FLINT, Michigan – As soon as Eileen “Queen” Murrell finished her free ultrasound and saw the hand of her unborn daughter, Queen Camden’s five-year-old son had an important thought.

“I want to see what’s in my stomach.”

He sat on his mother’s ultrasound with his two siblings, Kayden and Justice, in the basement of Mission Franklin Avenue, where Detroit-based nonprofit The Luke Clinic provides free prenatal care and medical care for babies under 12 months without questions asked. .

The Luke Clinic only started as a free prenatal clinic, but has since become a full-service clinic with resource-sharing partnerships in the Flint and Detroit areas.

The faith-based organization, which began a mission to reduce infant mortality in Michigan cities that are home to some of the country’s largest medical operations.

It quickly became an organization specializing in erasing the boundaries of medical care and other services for expectant mothers and their families through trust.

“My patients in Detroit tell me, ‘Miss Penny, you know, black men are afraid of the police. Black women are afraid of health care providers, “said CEO Penny Armbruster. “… The key to us is based on relationships. This connection takes time. “

Penny Armbruster, CEO of The Luke Clinic, spoke with Quinn, a patient at the prenatal clinic on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at The Luke Clinic as part of the Franklin Avenue mission in Flint. (Jennifer Veloso | Veloso

The infant mortality rate in Detroit, where the clinic is based, has dropped historically from 16.7 deaths per 1,000 births to 11 per 1,000 births in 2019, but the problems are causing a high rate in Detroit compared to the rest of the country. , are complex.

Armbruster believes this is a matter of trust. Instead of the patient entering the provider’s culture, the Luke Clinic brings the provider to the patient. They do just that with a mobile ambulance in the Detroit area

“The real key is to be able to remove barriers to care so we can keep them in the clinic,” Armbruster said.

Quinn, who was one of the first patients at the Luke Clinic in Detroit, said she would probably not be here today without the support the clinic and Armbruster provided.

“It is a blessing. “I was able to get prenatal care at no cost,” she said.

Queen stays with her children at Mercy House, a flint women’s shelter for young mothers and their children. The Mercy House is another partner of The Luke Clinic and Franklin Avenue Mission.

The 32-year-old woman is due to give birth to her fourth child in August. Camden, Justice and Kayden said they could not wait to meet their little sister.

Luke's Clinic

Quinn, a patient at the Luke Clinic, shows an ultrasound image of her soon-to-be daughter, Camden, 5, and Justice, 9, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at the Luke Clinic at Franklin Avenue Mission in Flint. (Jennifer Veloso |

Jennifer Veloso

“They gave me my first baby shower and I was able to get all the things I needed (Camden),” Quinn said. “He received a baby swing, a bed, clothes and gift cards – everything I needed or wanted was provided to me.

“As a mother, I felt very good because I didn’t have that support or that help until the Onion Clinic came along. He was able to support me and give me the things I needed. “

Armbruster and the Luke Clinic are even working to reunite Quinn’s children in Flint as a family. Each of them had stayed in different places in the Detroit area.

“They did it,” Quinn said as she watched her children in the activity room. “They gave me a place to be at Mercy House, and then I was able to take Kayden and Justice and bring them all here with me. Miss Penny made it all happen. … I was away from them for a while until they were able to bring us back together. ”

Flint’s location serves less than its Detroit location, as it has only been in operation since the fall of 2021.

The clinic is working slowly to spread information about its services, which can save lives, empower women and build faith.

Armbruster works in terms of “I will partner with anyone who has the same heart as me.”

She calls the Onion Clinic a social ministry, not an evangelical one. Some patients at the Luke Clinic have had an abortion, and the Luke Clinic will treat patients before and after the same, Armbruster said.

The Luke Clinic uses the same state-of-the-art equipment that hospitals use. They receive donations or can purchase equipment at a big discount through their partner, the University of Michigan Family Medicine Group, which supports the operation in many ways.

Located in the basement of Franklin Avenue Mission, located at 2210 N. Franklin Ave., the clinic has a children’s room for activities, support for social work, free food, clothing, insurance navigators and vehicles.

For more information you can contact the Luke Clinic at 866-458-5352.

Read more on The Flint Journal:

The sisters become the first twins to win farewell and congratulatory awards at Kearsley High School

The eight-day celebration on June 16 in Flint begins on Saturday

Flint President’s Message to Graduates: “Just Keep Swimming”

Flint churches, Genesee Health System, a pilot mental health program aimed at combating violent crime

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