Children's clinic celebrates opening

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie

     It was a great day in Ascension Parish, over on the west bank, with the official ribbon cutting of the first Children's International Medical Group (CIMG) clinic in Donaldsonville.

     Joined by state health officials, dignitaries and city and parish officials, CIMG started with a big bang, stressing that an important factor of their presence in any community is community involvement.

     Along with Parish President Kenny Matassa and Mayor Leroy Sullivan, other attendees included two city council members - Lauthaught Delaney, Sr. and Reginald Francis, Sr., School Board member, Robyn Penn Delaney, Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Juanita C. Pearley, CIMG CEO Dr. Eduardo Hernandez, Kate Hill - Vice President of The Compliance Team, DHH Deputy Secretary Michelle Alleto, Avis Richard-Griffin and Tracie Ingram of DHH Office of Rural Health, Stacey Fontenot - Executive Director of Louisiana Rural Health Association, Zach Allen - Vice President of Business Development CIMG, and Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent A. Denise Graves.

     "Every day we can keep a child healthy, we can educate them even better," said A. Denise Graves, Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent.

     Graves' quote turned into the mantra of the event - taking care of children's physical and spiritual health, as well as ensuring that CIMG maintains its commitment to the City of Donaldsonville.

     "This facility will more than impact our community," said Mayor Leroy Sullivan. "Thank you for coming to Donaldsonville."

     CIMG - Donaldsonville is the fourth rural health clinic for the group, said  Zach Allen, Vice President of Business Development CIMG.

     "The very first person we spoke to about bringing our clinic to the parish was not yet parish president," Allen said.

     Upon turning the microphone over to Parish President Kenny Matassa, Allen advised attendees that one of Matassa's first questions about the clinic was if it would support Donaldsonville.

     "When I learned they weren't all about the money - they're about the kids - our future, I was in," Matassa said. "Anything and everything we can do to make this a success, we will. Let's all get together to make this a success."

     There will door prizes and refreshments provided, as well as a live broadcast over KKAY, and a blessing by radio host and pastor Freddie Allen.

    CIMG CEO Dr. Eduardo Hernandez gave a personal guarantee that CIMG has the community's best interest in mind.

     "I give my personal guarantee to the City of Donaldsonville that we will be here for a long time as a partner of the community - we are very much looking forward to a successful practice," Hernandez said.

     Tracie Ingram of DHH Office of Rural Health was awarded the rare Health Ambassador Award, which has only been given out three times prior, for her drive for the community and its children.

      Closing out the event was  DHH Deputy Secretary Michelle Alleto, who gave praise to CIMG for opening the Donaldsonville clinic and charged them with upholding their promises.

     "I hope that there are more occasions like this - more access and more affordability in healthcare," Alleto said. "The new clinic will be an important addition to the community. We thank you for coming into the community. Quality in addition to access is important - be a model for that."

     Children's International Medical Group is located at 901 Catalpa St., Donaldsonville. For more information, (225) 257-4448.