Hospitals’ nurses share their time with Ypsilanti Health Center

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Midnight calls are nothing new to the five-member team of nurse-midwives who volunteer their time helping young women cope with their pregnancies at the Corner Health Center in downtown Ypsilanti.

Janice L. Wery, Ann D. Garvin, Carol S. Shultheis, Patricia A. Crane and Terri L. Murtland are committed to providing quality health care to the 2,500 clients who come to the center annually.

Each of the nurse-midwives gives a scheduled five hours per month of her free time in addition to her regular nursing jobs at University Hospitals. Another 10 hours is usually required for time spent at the hospital during labor and delivery or false alarms.

“We get up in the middle of the night and go to be with them,” Wery says.

To be treated at the center, a pregnant woman must be between ages 12 and 21. Most of the Corner Health Center’s clients—95 percent—are uninsured and have low or no income.

David A. Share, medical director at the center and clinical instructor in family practice at the Medical School, says the nurse-midwifery program is an important part of the center’s prenatal health care program.

During pregnancy, women are monitored carefully for proper nutrition and medical care and the nurse-midwife volunteer staff builds a relationship with each one.

Many of the center’s clients are very young. But in spite of their age, Wery says pregnancy and the birth are usually a joyful occasion for them.

“Most of them keep their babies. They have wonderful support for education, nutrition, housing, food and relationships.”

“They see us as nurturing people,” Wery notes. In fact, many of the young mothers come back to show off their babies and to visit with the staff. Following the birth, they are given contraceptive information as well as obstetric and post-natal care.

Although approximately two-thirds of the center’s patients come from the Ypsilanti area, Share says that he and the nurse-midwives also treat patients from Belleville, Howell, Chelsea, Monroe and the Ann Arbor area.

The Corner Health Center is one of many local service agencies that depend on fund from the United Way. This year’s United Way campaign ends Nov. 3.


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