The Freedom Clinic: A Community-designed Healthcare Pilot & School-Based Health Center


Grantee: Tubman Health’s Freedom Clinic
Timeframe: July 2022 – June 2024 | Amount: $400,000

Year 1: July 2022 – June 2023. Amount: $200,000
Year2: July 2023 – June 2024. Amount: $200,000


Tubman Health’s Freedom Clinic pilot addresses the lack of a health care infrastructure driven by the needs and strengths of the region’s Black communities and other medically marginalized groups. Specifically, there currently is no CHC in the state that is Black-owned and -led, delivers community-designed care, and advances upstream public health solutions through advocacy. To reverse this disinvestment, communities must build this infrastructure from scratch.

By piloting the Freedom Clinic at Rainer Valley Leadership Academy (RVLA), Tubman Health will meet two core objectives. First, Tubman Health will help build a healthy school and deliver needed health and wellness services to members of the community (students, parents/families, and staff). Like Tubman Health, RVLA understands health holistically and is committed to a systems-based approach, situating the clinic within a wider school community dedicated to healthy practices. Second, at the Freedom Clinic, Tubman Health will develop, test, and refine community design approaches, service models, and sustainability models for the launch of the flagship clinic.

Tubman Health will use PHPDA funding to continue community design at RVLA (Tubman Health has begun with surveys of scholars, families/parents, and faculty/staff), promote healthy and safe school return, launch the Freedom Clinic, and sample service delivery during the 2022-2023 school year. The project focuses on establishing a community-driven set of systems and practices that can be refined, replicated, and sustained, as follows:

• Healthy and safe return. Tubman Health will work with the school community to help set goals for healthy and safe return and establish needed programs and partnerships. By connecting RVLA to community partners and helping manage those relationships, Tubman Health will contribute to building the collective capacity. Additionally, through the safe return work, Tubman Health will foster trust with and among the school community and build its investment in developing the Freedom Clinic.
• Prioritization of health issues: The school community (scholars, parents/families, teachers/staff) will assess the data gathered through surveys and focus groups to select priority health issues, whether physical health, mental/behavioral health, or SDOH.
• Development of indicators of success: Consistent with their principles of self-determination, Tubman Health will ask the school community what success looks like (for both healthy and safe return and for service sampling) and how it will be clear Tubman Health has delivered success once they fully stand up the Freedom Clinic. The indicators they select may be related to participation rates/receipt of services, satisfaction, knowledge/awareness, self-reported health/wellbeing, or other categories.
• Sampling and initial delivery of services and/or programs: Based on selected priorities, the school community will select clinical services and modalities and/or health promotion programming for sampling and initial delivery (e.g., Western allopathic medicine, East Asian medicine, traditional culturally-based medicine, nutrition, mindfulness, physical activity, health literacy, etc.). Tubman Health will contract with providers as necessary. These services may address physical health, mental/behavioral health, SDOH, and health education/health systems navigation. Importantly, service delivery and programming will not be isolated in a single section of the school. The Freedom Clinic at RVLA will be part of an overall effort to design a healthy school, including classroom curricula and projects.
• Evaluation: Tubman Health will continually assess and improve the healthy and safe return programming and to evaluate the results of service sampling, in collaboration with the school community. This will help determine which clinical services to offer in years two and three as Tubman Health build out the Freedom Clinic.
• Sustainability. The Director of Health Services will collaborate with billing staff to assess revenue structures that enable Tubman Health to provide services consistent with the mission of delivering culturally appropriate care. The Director of Health Services also will work to establish a network of BIPOC-centered, mission-aligned providers for the long-term.

To guide each component of the project, Tubman Health is working with RVLA to form a Health Council composed of scholars, parents/families, and faculty/staff. The Health Council will meet regularly to share their firsthand experiences with the Freedom Clinic, make observations about the project, evaluate progress, and help plan next steps. The Council will also serve as a health career pipeline entry point, and Council members will visit health care facilities to learn more about health care fields and opportunities.

The project will be carried out by the Director of Health Services (project planning, execution, model development, clinical management, and assessment of sustainability), Health Fellow (clinical support, outreach, and community coordination), Director of Research (evaluation, data, and reporting), and an administrative staff member to handle billing. Qualifications are described in the personnel budget narrative.


Tubman Center for Health and Freedom

Founded in 2020 by Black and Indigenous leaders, the Tubman Center for Health & Freedom is committed to the principles of healing and people’s liberation from the systems that make us unwell. They are named after the hero Harriet Tubman, who both freed people from systems of oppression that threatened their health and provided clinical care for patients as a nurse in the Union Army. Launched as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they’re protecting our communities through education, testing, PPE distribution, and vaccination, as well as through our Frontline Wellness program, which offered care management and acupuncture through East Asian medicine providers when primary care doctors turned to COVID care. As Tubman Health grew, our community called for services beyond COVID response.

Inspired by Tubman, their mission is to address health and wellness through systemic and clinical approaches. By practicing medicine at the intersection of health and freedom, Tubman Center addresses both the health of our patients and the factors that determine their health. Tubman Health provides primary and preventive care, behavioral health services, community resources, social services, political education, and advocacy.

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