The FAU Community Health Center is adjacent to Westgate Elementary School in West Palm Beach. We provide an array of services, directed by advanced practice nurses in collaboration with other health care providers to provide services that are community, family and person centered. Our center is certified by the American Diabetes Association to provide diabetes self-management training to patients, families and community members.
Our Center values the establishment and ongoing authentic relationship with our community partners. The Community Outreach Team travels throughout Palm Beach County to provide services right where people work and live. We provide early identification of physical, mental and chronic illness through health care screenings. Our dedicated team of professionals work with many partners to build strong and healthy communities.
Our providers are part of the interprofessional team working together with medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, etc.
Comprehensive Primary Care
- value you as part of the healthcare team,
- form a trusting relationship,
- promote a holistic approach to health care,
- offer person centered care including adult and pediatric health services,
- manage acute and/or chronic conditions,
- deliver the highest level of communication, education and support,
- provide the latest evidence based care model
- support comprehensive mind and body wellness,
- serve adult and pediatric populations,
- offer mental health services to include screening, evaluation and medication management.
Outreach and Community Engagement Services:
Based on our caring philosophy, the FAU Community Health Outreach Team travel into the community to provide screening and early intervention for many physical, mental and chronic illnesses. The Outreach and Community Engagement Services focus on preventative health and referrals to Primary Care, Mental Health and Diabetes Management Services for long term health. Building a strong collaborative relationship with the community by working with individuals, families and groups is in accordance with our mission, vision and caring philosophy. We
- go into the communities where people live and work,
- provide early identification of chronic illness and link clients to resources,
- work with interprofessional teams to build healthy and strong communities.
Classes offered discuss current information to help you manage your diabetes and will focus on:
- Persons with pre-diabetes, diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Diabetes disease process and treatment options
- Nutritional management into lifestyle
- Physical activity into lifestyle
- Safe medication management
- Blood glucose monitoring
- Minimize short and long term complications
- Strategies for psychosocial issues and concerns
- Personal strategies to promote health and behavior changes
Our center is dedicated to our community and its improvement of lifestyle choices. To create the optional outcomes for our clients and families we manage complex psychosocial, medical, and economic co-morbidities. We have joined forces with multiple community partners to increase resources that will reduce risk and improve health. This allows us to serve as your liaison between various organizations by removing barriers and enhancing support, not only in healthcare, but also with safety concerns.
We utilize telehealth to deliver health care, health information and health education with an emphasis on an interdisciplinary plan of care. Telehealth is a telecommunication form that increases the contact between a person and the medical system for distant health delivery and education in diverse settings. Our telehealth services encompass:
- Live video conferencing (synchronous): a live two way interaction between a person and a provider using audio visual telecommunication technology.
- Store-and-forward (asynchronous): a transmission of recorded health information through an electronic system to a practitioner who utilizes the information to evaluate and render services outside of a real-time or live interaction.
- Mobile health (mHealth): health care and public health practice/education supported by mobile communication devices i.e. cell phones, tablets, and pda’s. Applications can range from targeted text messages that promote healthy behavior to wide scale alerts about disasters.
FAU’s Community Health Center is now integrating pharmocogenetic testing as part of its psychiatric nurse-led precision care to guide personalized treatment. The Center utilizes a genetic test that analyzes how a persons’ genes can affect the way their unique body responds to FDA-approved medications. Medicines that align well with an individual’s genes may work better with fewer side effects.
GeneSight has four panels that the Center utilizes, including psychotropic, analgesic, ADHD and MTHFR panels -
- The psychotropic panel is typically for clients who have been diagnosed with bipolar, psychosis, depression, PTSD, anxiety or other conditions. It analyzes genes that can affect a patient’s response to antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.
- The Analgesic panel is for clients who have been diagnosed with acute or chronic pain. It analyzes how clients’ genes can affect possible response to opioids, NSAIDs and muscle relaxants.
- The ADHD panel is for clients who have been diagnosed with ADHD. It analyzes genes that can affect a patient’s response to medications prescribed to treat ADHD.
- The MTHFR panel provides information on the individual’s folic acid conversion. It tests for genetic causes of folate deficiency, which may be more prevalent among depressed patients.
As a result of the Center’s utilization of genetic testing, nurse practitioners are able to make precise treatment decisions, reach treatment goals sooner, and improve client outcome while decreasing health care costs.
Clinical Training Site
We provide clinical training sites for FAU students and others to assist them in their Interprofessional Community Engagement and clinical training. We offer clinical training for students at various levels studying medicine, nursing, social work, and pharmacology. Students have opportunities to work alongside our nurse practitioners in the Westgate clinic, but also out in the community with our Outreach Team assisting with health care screenings at many partner sites.
WE PROMISE TO:
Provide service to ALL persons regardless of their: Race, Color, Sex, Income, Religion, Disability, National Origin, Sexual Orientation, or ability to pay.
We accept insurance including: Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care, Sunshine, Molina, Cenpatico and self-pay. We offer discounted fees for those who qualify based on income (sliding scale). Please call for more details and confirm your insurance company’s status.
Contact us: (561) 803-8880
(Next to Westgate Elementary School)
After Hours Urgent Calls Only: (561) 409-7949
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday (1st & 3rd) 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
This Nurse-led person-centered practices is grounded on our caring philosophy, and dedicated to increase access to comprehensive quality and culturally sensitive care to underserved populations, while training the next generation of health care professionals.
The mission of the FAU Community Health Center is to provide comprehensive and culturally sensitive primary care services to the community based on the College of Nursing’s philosophy of caring and commitment to health equity.
As a part of Florida Atlantic University, the Community Health Center is a site dedicated to enriching student learning, faculty research and scholarship.
The FAU Community Health Center will improve health equity and create healthy
communities by providing community-based primary care grounded in a philosophy
Our Caring Philosophy
Nursing is a discipline of knowledge and professional practice grounded in caring.
Nursing makes a unique contribution to society by nurturing the wholeness of persons within a caring environment. Caring in nursing is an intentional, mutual, human process in which the nurse artistically responds with authentic presence to calls from persons to enhance well-being. Nursing occurs in nursing situations: co-created lived experiences in which the caring between nurses and persons enhance well-being. The art of nursing is the creative use of nursing knowledge in practice. Nurses collaborate and lead interprofessional research and practice, to support the health and well-being of persons inextricably connected within a diverse global society.
Persons as participants in the co-created nursing situation, refers to individuals, families or communities. Persons are referred to as unique, dynamically interconnected, and present within the environment of caring relationships. Persons are nurtured in their wholeness and well-being, through caring relationships.
A caring environment is one in which all aspects of the person are respected, nurtured and celebrated. The learning environment supports faculty-student relationships that honor and value the contributions of all, as well as shared learning and growth.
The above fundamental beliefs concerning Nursing, Persons and Learning express our values, and guide the actions of Faculty, as they pursue the missions of teaching, research/scholarship and service shared by
The Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing
Florida Atlantic University
Community Health Center
Community Health Center Directors and Staff
Jessica Mendez, MSN, APRN -BC, CDE
Jessica Sodek, ARNP, completed her Masters of Science in Nursing from Florida Atlantic University. She is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and is a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Her clinical interest includes diabetes care and nutrition with an affinity for health promotion and disease prevention. As the Clinical Director, she is responsible for leading overall clinical strategy as well as manages aspects of clinical operations with director. Jessica’s experience includes over 12 years in acute care, pediatric oncology and nursing management in an outpatient clinical setting. In addition, she serves as clinical preceptor for health professional students. Jessica is fluent in English and Spanish.
Lewis Green, M.D.
Dr. Green has worked with the FAU Community Health Center since 2011 as the Medical Director. He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1975 and worked in Family Practice in the states of Florida and Georgia before retiring from full time private practice in 2001. Dr. Green is passionate about helping the uninsured and underserved receive quality health care. With that vision, he served on numerous community boards as a Director and Chairman to ensure the voice of patients are heard to understand what matters most to them, and develop solutions to reduce health inequities. Dr. Green works closely with the Director and Nurse Practitioners as he brings his medical expertise to the Center as a Collaborating Physician and Medical Director. Dr. Green is also affiliate faculty at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Clinical Biomedical Science, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine both at Florida Atlantic University. He enjoys spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren while volunteering for the veteran hospital a few times a month.
Julia Gorman is the Office Manager for the Community Health Care Center at Westgate. Her past experience includes Assistant to the Activities Director for Independent and Assisted Living Facility as well as owned and operated a successful family business. She started with the clinic after completing a Medical Assistant Certification and was promoted to Office Manager in 2012. Julia is currently enrolled in an Insurance, Billing and Coding Certification Program. She oversees the day to day operations of the clinic, supervises and evaluates staff, coordinates outside referrals, and business operations.
Helen C. Romanacce, MSW,
Coordinator, Social Services
Helen Romanacce’s education includes a Master’s Degree in Social Work and Aging Certificate from Florida Atlantic University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Inter-American University in San Juan, PR. She is a Florida Registered Clinical Social Work Intern and Field Instructor for FAU School of Social Work. In addition, she serves as clinical preceptor for health professional students s, as part of the FAU Community Health Center’s Interprofessional community engagement training experience. She will begin graduate studies at the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters in the fall with a concentration on Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Helen has an eight-year track record in the non-profit industry providing services for the underserved population and has been with FAU since 2008. She is bi-lingual in English and Spanish.
Patricia Dittman, PhD, RN, CDE
Health Care Outcomes Coordinator and
Certified Diabetes Educator
Patricia Dittman holds a PhD and MSN in Nursing from Florida Atlantic University and is also a nationally Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Patricia’s research focus is on the Impact of Attitude and Empowerment as Predictors of Diabetes Self-management. She is an adjunct professor with FAU’s Christine E. Lynne College of Nursing and Nova Southeastern Universities’ College of Nursing. Her Nursing Administrative experience includes 17 years in acute care and 10 years in an academic setting. Currently she is a Magnet appraiser for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) evaluating hospital facilities for Magnet status.. Patricia provides coordinated care with a focus on -population health through; monitoring, evaluating and navigating the health care system for ensure quality care that is personalized to each person’s need to improve health outcomes. In addition, she serves as clinical preceptor for health professional students.
Daryl Hobbs, MS, ARNP-BC, CDE
Family Nurse Practitioner
Daryl Hobbs is a Family Nurse Practitioner who is board certified in family practice. She graduated with a Master of Science degree in nursing from FAU. Daryl is a clinician and a nationally Certified Diabetes Educator currently practicing at the FAU Community Health Center. In addition, she serves as clinical preceptor for health professional students. Her prior experience includes over 19 years in the capacity of supervisor and practitioner at a medical clinic in Haiti. Daryl is fluent in English and Haitian Creole.
Andra Opalinski, PhD, ARNP, CPNP-PC, NC-BC
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Assistant Professor
Andra Opalinski is a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner. She graduated with a Master of Science degree as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from the University of Florida and her PhD in nursing from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Andra’s research focus is on health promotion for the child and family, health promotion and health outcomes for persons experiencing homelessness, faith community nursing and effectiveness of nurse coaching. Her prior experience includes over 5 years of in-patient pediatric care and over 15 years as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She has experience in school based health working to improve both health outcomes and educational outcomes through supporting health.
Michael joined the FAU Community Health Center in 2014, initially as a volunteer, and commenced as a Medical Assistant in 2015. He works at the front desk ensuring patient intake, registration, check in/out procedures are all carried out at a first class level. Michael has been training in patient care, and enjoys his interaction with patients as he measures their vitals and records their information in preparation for the Nurse Practitioner’s appointment. Michael carries out many patient responsibilities such as: assisting with examinations, medication preparation, lab work, and nursing as directed by the Health Care Provider on duty. Michael is fluent in English and Spanish.
The FAU Community Health Center is adjacent to Westgate Elementary School in West Palm Beach. We provide an array of services, directed by advanced practice nurses in collaboration with other health care providers.
Contact us: (561) 803-8880
After Hours Urgent Calls Only: (561) 409-7949
(Next to Westgate Elementary School)
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday (1st & 3rd) 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Make a Donation
The FAU Community Health Center, is a self-sustaining entity of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. Funds support innovative comprehensive models of care that are person-centered and culturally sensitive. These services are provided to all members of our community with a special focus on those that need it the most.
Through the generous support from many in our community, friends of our Center have often helped contribute to our programs in a meaningful way that has provided support for our Center and for patients. The result has been a powerful partnership and improved health care for those we serve in Palm Beach County. Your tax-deductible contributions are appreciated and provide support in the following areas:
- Comprehensive primary care
- Diabetes education (American Diabetes Association Certified)
- Mental health services (Psychiatric evaluation and medication management)
- Nutrition services
- Community outreach efforts
- Telehealth services
- Psychopharmacological Genetic Testing
Our Director, Jessica Mendez, would be happy to discuss opportunities for contributions that you have developed. Her contact information is email@example.com or 561-803-8880.
Forms for the Community Health Center
Thank you for visiting our website.
If you require a referral form, please click on the link below, or call our office (561) 803-8880
Mental Health Referral Form: Click here
Diabetes Referral Form: Click here
An American Diabetes Association Certified Center for Self-Management
The FAU Community Health Center combines education and treatment to confront the growing diabetes epidemic. With nearly 100,000 Palm Beach County residents who have diabetes and approximately 250,000 more at risk, we are bringing together nurse practitioners, pharmacists, educators, researchers and nutritionists to teach children and families the best ways to care for themselves and help end America’s fastest growing disease.
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within a decade unless they adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes weight loss and more physical activity.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) can occur at any age, but is most commonly diagnosed from infancy to late 30s. If a person is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, their pancreas produces little to no insulin, and the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) typically develops after age 40, but has recently begun to appear with more frequency in children. If a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, their pancreas still produces insulin, but the body does not produce enough or is not able to use it effectively.
The Center provides support for children and adults of all ages who may be at risk of diabetes, have diabetes or are at risk of complications from diabetes. Diabetes education programs are offered to individuals, families, groups, community organizations and neighborhood groups. Programs offered include:
- At Risk for Diabetes
- Nutrition Counseling
- Diabetes and Pregnancy
- Diabetes Self-Management Education
- Lifestyle Management
- Medication Management
- Coordinated Primary Care Services
Diabetes Education Classes
Diabetes Education Classes are offered on a regular basis. All faculty are nationally Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) that provide care as part of a team of experts. Services provided following a referral from a primary care provider, or you may refer yourself by calling our Center on (561) 803-8880.
Classes include information on diet, exercise, medication management, stress management and lifestyle modifications. These interactive classes provide an opportunity for questions and answers, and counseling related to your diabetes management program.
To schedule please call (561) 803-8880
Our Location: 1650 Osceola Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33409
Would you like to make a donation to further our work in the community?
You can visit the FAU Foundation Pledge Page to make a donation online. Please specify “Other” and designate your donation to “FAU Community Health Center”.
If you prefer, you can donate by sending a check:
Mail to: The FAU Community Health Center
1650 Osceola Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33409
Please make your checks payable to:
The FAU Foundation
Memo: FAU Community Health Center
On behalf of our Director, staff, and all those that utilize our services, we would like to say…
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