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Health Care

Doctor Building Trust At Jordan Clinic

By Beth A. Klahre, posted Jul 5, 2024
Emilia Parrott, lead physician at the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic, said the clinic is establishing new patients every day. (Photo by Madeline Gray)
In early 2021, Novant Health announced that Wilmington native and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan donated $10 million to open two Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics in New Hanover County.

At the corner of 15th and Greenfield streets, the first clinic opened its doors in April with Emilia Parrott as lead physician and Nicholas Green as clinic administrator.

Parrott brings over 10 years of family medicine experience to the clinic. She attended medical school at the Western University of Health Sciences-College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in California as part of its Pacific Northwest track. She completed her third- and fourth-year clinical rotations in Portland, Oregon. Each rotation exposed Parrott to various fields of medicine.

“I wanted to do everything. Through all of it, I decided to specialize in a field that does a little bit of everything – family medicine – providing care from birth to death, not limiting myself to any particular population, or what I see in-clinic and what outpatient medical procedures I perform,” she said.

Parrott completed her residency in community health at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Tacoma, Washington. “That’s my passion,” she said.

Because her husband, Matthew, was in the Navy, she moved around quite a bit and worked at several facilities in Southern California. When they moved to Wilmington, Parrott took a position at Novant Health Express Care.

Parrott accepted the role as lead physician last summer, even before the doors opened. She started seeing patients in October, and she already has a patient panel of over 800.

“We are establishing new patients every day,” she said.

Parrott is also responsible for bringing new services to the clinic, such as vaccines for children, and performing the administrative work necessary to continue increasing access to health care in the community.

Guided by her past experiences, Parrott said, “It has been really helpful to have had multiple positions to see how things are done inside a clinic, especially in community health care. Working for Community Health Care in Washington and the Southern Indian Health Council Inc. in California enabled me to see how resources are utilized in a good, efficient way.”

“Figuring out the best ways to run the clinic, provide quality patient care and get patients in the door is a good challenge. Nick and I make a great team, and the clinical and front office staff get involved,” she said. “At the end of the day, it has made us the team that we are.”

The clinic, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., is focused on primary care. This includes preventative care such as blood pressure checks and cervical cancer screenings and care for acute and chronic illness. In addition to Parrott and Green, the staff includes a nurse practitioner, two patient scheduling coordinators and two certified medical assistants.

“We are here to serve everyone, the uninsured, insured, self-pay, Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield. Right now, we see ages 6 and up. By August, we will see everyone from newborns to elders. This is truly a place to bring the entire family,” Green said.

Parrott and Green said that the initial demand for services has been huge. “There are a lot of patients in need in our community, especially with the Medicaid expansion, and not a lot of places for those patients to go that aren’t booked or have a long wait time,” Green said.

The facility was set up for expansion to four providers, four medical assistants and four patient scheduling coordinators, with plans to add a licensed clinical social worker and a phlebotomist. In 2026, the clinic will also host physicians on rotation as part of Novant Health’s new psychiatric residency program.

The community response to the clinic has been positive. “Everyone is thankful,” said Parrott. “People who haven’t seen a physician in years and those without insurance are finally getting care. Everyone is accepting and happy we are here. We are building trust.”

The second clinic is expected to open in January, located on Princess Place Drive and North 30th Street. Modeled after the Greenfield Street clinic, this clinic will have the same goal of being a safe place where the community can come and ask for help.

“We can have goals, but in reality, it’s the community who will tell us what it needs. Our job is to adapt to the needs of the community,” Parrott said.

A physician has already been hired who will first practice at the Greenfield Street clinic starting this September. Additional staff will include an advanced practice provider, two patient scheduling coordinators and two certified medical assistants.

Both clinics have been strategically located where there has been little or no access to health care.

“Jordan’s contribution will impact Wilmington for decades,” Parrott added. “What he has done is amazing. His donation also brings visibility, which is very helpful for people who have read about us and come for assistance.”
 
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