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Official visits Meridian clinic

By By William F. West / community editor
Aug. 23, 2002
A top official with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services paid his first visit to Mississippi on Thursday.
Deputy Secretary Claude Allen was at the Greater Meridian Health Care Clinic at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering and as part of National Health Center Week.
The expanded and improved regional center, at 2701 Davis St., primarily serves low-income residents in need of health care services.
Allen, speaking at an afternoon open house at the center, said community health centers care for one in every five low-income children and one in every 12 rural residents in the nation.
He said the long term national plan is to add 1,200 new and expanded health care centers like the one in Meridian. He said President Bush will ask for an additional $1.5 billion for community health centers in 2003.
Allen said that Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith told him about the city's majority black population and a small but increasing Hispanic population.
Thursday's gathering at the Meridian Clinic was sponsored by the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Pfizer pharmaceuticals firm.