In May 2016, as part of a collaborative effort to extend equity in design to rural, colonia areas, a Request For Proposals was released to invite Rio Grande Valley nonprofit organizations and groups to submit project proposals to be matched with pro bono design services. From this RFP, we received many excellent proposals, and in July, a jury of nonprofit, community and design leaders convened to review the proposals, recommending the following project to be selected for 2016:
The Hope Family Health Center
The Hope Family Health Center (HFHC) is a primary medical and behavioral health clinic with a mission to exclusively serve the uninsured in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV).
HFHC proposed a planning and infrastructure design project for a newly acquired 1,460 sq ft rectangle space attached to the current HFHC clinic facility in South McAllen. Due to the continued high rate of medically uninsured adults and children in the RGV and in order to meet its mission of serving the uninsured population, in the last two years, HFHC has sought and secured major grant funded projects to deliver increased quality and quantity of services. The services include medical appointments, mental health counseling, nutritional counseling, community health education classes, support groups, vision screenings, and information & referral services. All of these services have outgrown the physical space of the clinic. The additional 1,000 sq ft of space will greatly increase the number of services available on-site and on the same day knowing that patients have many challenges in arranging transportation to the clinic.
HFHC was in need of the extra space in order to house its growing programs and activities. However, the new open space requires infrastructure that could include walls to define rooms, moveable walls to keep space multi-use, interior design to maximize floor space, and use of green and sustainable materials. The board of directors and medical volunteers have many ideas and thoughts on how best to use the space; however, through PDII, HFHC seeks professional and innovate planning and design assistance to discover, design, plan and implement the optimal use of the space for use by patients, staff, volunteers, and partner organizations.
Optimal use of the new space would immediately increase the number of laughter yoga classes, nutrition classes, grief support groups, stress management groups, exercise classes, staff planning meetings, medical volunteer meetings, professional development workshops, community group meetings, partner organization workshops, and many other opportunities for individuals to gather in groups. Currently the only space available for these types of activities is the public lobby or a small meeting room that cannot hold more than 10 people comfortably. In addition to the group space, the additional space for desks or offices would give patients more opportunities to meet privately with a nutritional counselor, information and referral specialist or social worker on the same day as their medical appointment instead of having to come back on another day. HFHC expects that the new space will achieve increased quality and quantity of all the current and possibly new services for its patients.