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One on One with Andrea Mantione, MSN, CRNP G’99

One on One with Andrea Mantione, MSN, CRNP G’99

Ever wonder what goes on inside the Leahy Community Health and Family Center? The answer is “a lot.” Or, more specifically, “a lot of helping.”

Its director, Andrea Mantione, MSN, CRNP, G’99, often describes the center as a “living laboratory.” She is responsible for leading and managing the free clinic, recruiting volunteer physicians and nurses, collaborating with the University and surrounding community, involving students and faculty and coordinating funding for all of the center’s programs. She also provides primary care to patients as a family nurse practitioner and follow-up on all patient care delivered within the clinic.

The Leahy Clinic, which opened in late 2007, went from 840 patient visits in 2008 to nearly 2,100 in 2013. What accounts for the increase over the years? 

As with most free clinics, we began slowly. It takes time to build trust in a community that is underserved. Starting slow helped us to understand the population that we serve. Now we’ve become experts in the community on how to serve the immigrant, marginalized population. The bottom line is that the community really trusts us. It’s all about trust. 

University students tallied 1,866 service hours in 2013. How do all of these hours benefit the center and its patients/students? 

We have two full time staff, besides me, and one part-time nurse manager. The staff is the foundation and the students are the workforce. They live what they learn in the health professions classroom, but all volunteers do not come from the health professions. For example, we have business school students and communication students, too. They all live the mission of cura personalis. They believe it. They are the Leahy Center.

Why is it so important to provide free services to people of all ages? 

We have an obligation as professionals and as a Jesuit university to care for those less fortunate. It is our intention to keep the community healthy and provide for them while they find the resources to get an education or employment and provide for their families. It is our intention to help people help themselves. 

What does working with the underserved population teach staff and students? 

Respect and humility. 

The students and our staff learn that we can make a difference in our neighbors’ lives. The students learn that in this community we share with each other, there are people who are hungry and without warm clothing, and without shelter. They are living in poverty next door to us. We can make positive change by just giving them the tools to help them achieve, and a smile. Everyone could use a smile. 

Why do patients keep coming back to the Leahy Clinic? 

We don’t judge. Here, we understand and we give. We help. It’s not about talking the talk, but walking the walk here at the center.

People often use the terms “Leahy Center” and “Leahy Clinic” interchangeably, but the fact of the matter is that there is a difference between the two. The term “Leahy Center” is an umbrella term used to refer to various programs, including the Leahy Clinic, the Food Pantry, the Peacemakers program and University of Success. The “Leahy Clinic” is a division of the Leahy Center that consists of a clinic for the uninsured, counseling and physical therapy.

The Clinic 

– provides free “non-emergency” health care to uninsured Lackawanna County residents who may otherwise forego health care due to cost or seek care in hospital emergency rooms 

Peacemakers 

– a free after-school program for children between the ages of 9 and 13 years old; goal is for students to experience and explore the meaning, history and vision of peacemaking and develop skills necessary to carry their experiences and learning into the future

University of Success 

– a pre-college program designed to provide academic, social and cultural enrichment to high school students; goal is to assist participating students to successfully complete high school and gain entrance into a college or university 

The Food Pantry 

– provides essential provisions for members of the community; a set number of families comes once a month for food (there were 60 families in 2014)

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