Community Partner Spotlight: Community Clinic Northwest Arkansas

Community Clinic is largely known within Northwest Arkansas for providing medical and dental services. A discussion with Community Clinic Chief Executive Officer Judd Semingson, Community Development Manager Abbie Luzius, and Research Director Lisa Stafford revealed that these elements are only the surface of this organization’s extensive impact within Northwest Arkansas.

Community Clinic provides comprehensive health services to Northwest Arkansas including primary care, women's health services, pediatric care, preventative care, physical therapy, and behavioral health. With various locations in Centerton, Elkins, Fayetteville, Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Rogers, Siloam Springs, and Springdale, Community Clinic spans across the region. Complementary to Community Clinic’s commitment to health services is the organization’s ability to connect individuals to community resources and identify the connections between health and social determinants. These efforts are powerful depictions of the organization’s stance to “treat the whole person.” By recognizing the importance of meeting social needs and incorporating integrated care, Community Clinic makes a dedication to education and prevention.

One social need that Northwest Arkansas individuals are increasingly experiencing is a lack of attainable housing. Luzius analyzed Community Clinic’s patient screening data from 2023, which showed that 8.7% of their patients reported a lack of stable housing. Additionally, Luziuz stated that, "In our data, we saw that so many of our patients have secure housing but are concerned about losing housing stability in the near future." Community Clinic stated that assessing social needs is a critical aspect of their efforts to measure and address comorbidities as well as the needs of the Northwest Arkansas community.

Semingson also noted that Community Clinic serves a diverse and varying population within Northwest Arkansas. Individuals within ranging socioeconomic statuses are impacted by the “tangential effects” of a lack of attainable housing. Community Clinic nurses, staff members, and other healthcare professionals have been impacted by a lack of housing attainability.

These individuals, and many others who make the median income for the area, are pushed outside of the city that they work in so that they can attain stable housing. Alongside longer commute times, these individuals may experience increased transportation costs and reduced time with family. Furthermore, marginalized communities may be disproportionately impacted by the lack of attainable housing.

Semingson believes that Northwest Arkansas organizations and individuals have an important role in understanding the intersection of housing attainability and health. Community Clinic takes the perspective that collaborative efforts and partnerships are essential in facing the housing challenges of Northwest Arkansas. Floating potential solutions among the area’s stakeholders, such as schools and local businesses, will produce solutions and opportunities that are “good for the multitude.” In a broader context, the impact of these efforts does not end in Northwest Arkansas; Semingson noted that “We must work to bridge these gaps producing low health outcomes and, furthermore, build those opportunities in other parts of the state ... and partnerships get us there the quickest. This is not a solo job.” Additionally, Semingson believes that it’s important to be actively engaged in creating solutions rather than ruminating over challenges.

Groundwork advocates for more attainable workforce housing in Northwest Arkansas and is enthusiastic to collaborate with Community Clinic in supporting the region. Intentional and interconnected efforts to increase attainable housing will strengthen the health and well-being of Northwest Arkansas communities in multifaceted and transformative ways. It is critical that organizations continue to develop these connections in order to facilitate the growth and improvement of Northwest Arkansas.

Written by Claire Metcalf