Detroit nonprofit to offer affordable mammograms, health center called 'best kept secret'

Posted at 11:40 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 13:27:21-04

(WXYZ) — For 51 years, the Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center in Detroit has been a destination for health and wellness care, and everyone is welcome.

"We have people from Macomb County, Oakland County, from different areas because of the culture and the language. So about 70 percent of our patients prefer to speak Spanish over English," said Dr. Felix Valbuena, CEO of CHASS.

Dr. Valbuena said the center offers a comprehensive array of primary health care and support services, from adult care to prenatal care to pediatric care to dentistry and beyond.

"A lot of people call us a one-stop shop," he said.

The goal for the center: to improve the health of the entire community through affordable quality care.

"We're still talked about as the best kept secret and ... we don't want to be the best kept secret. We feel that we're a model not just in Detroit or in Michigan, but in the country," said Dr. Valbuena.

Their latest victory, securing an $80,000 grant from the Empowerment Foundation to bring a mammography machine to the center on a year lease. The first mammogram at CHASS is expected to take place in October.

"We have almost 3,000 women that come to our center that are in the age group that would benefit from breast cancer screening," he said. "We know from our experience that the community prefers to receive services in the community."

The goal now is to fundraise to be able to keep the mammography machine at the center longer. The Empowerment Foundation is matching donations up to $40,000 through the end of the year.

And while that mission is important, Dr. Valbuena said they’re also focused on a more pressing task at hand: the fight against COVID-19.

"That right now is our biggest, biggest, biggest concern and initiative and effort that we want to continue to push for individuals in the community to please, please, please come and get vaccinated," he said.

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the center or getting COVID-19 testing is free. Dr. Valbuena said staff is also happy to sit with community members to answer any questions they may have about the vaccine.

Dr. Valbuena said around 50 percent of their patients are uninsured or underinsured, and they have a sliding payment scale for the services they provide.

To learn more about CHASS, become a patient or donate to their various initiatives, click here.