The Free Clinics transforms diabetes program with funding from Pisgah Health Foundation

The Free Clinics transforms diabetes program with funding from Pisgah Health Foundation

RN Hannah Parks speaks with a patient at one of TFC’s evening clinics.
Photo by Byron Collins

(Hendersonville, NC)….29 January 2020…. The Free Clinics (TFC) was recently announced one of Pisgah Health Foundation’s inaugural grant recipients, receiving an award of $75,000 for its diabetes program. 

The grant enables TFC to transform its long-standing diabetes program into a comprehensive drop-in group visit model, based on its award-winning Bridges to Health program, to serve Henderson and Polk Counties’ most vulnerable persons with diabetes. The model allows TFC to serve as the patient’s primary care provider, with multiple health specialists present at each diabetes group visit, including a medical provider, behavioral health specialist, nurse, occupational therapist, health educator, patient health advocate, and clinical pharmacist. 

The new program will debut on Thursday, February 13, 2020.

Hannah Parks, TFC’s Diabetes Nurse Case Manager, says, “I think the program meets a real need that the community has to integrate diabetes care with a really knowledgeable team. The extra piece that we offer is the compassion, and the benefit of the group visit model and that peer support.”

Dr. Steven Crane, TFC’s Volunteer Medical Director and creator of the original Bridges to Health program, says of the changes, “Among the most important insights we learned from 10 years of our Bridges program is that support and advice from others like you who are in the process of making similar changes is a critical component of success.  The group visit model, which has been so successful in helping patients recover from trauma, homelessness, addiction, and hopelessness, is the perfect model for patients who have struggled unsuccessfully to get control of their diabetes.”

Parks adds, “I have hope about how the group dynamic will work with managing a chronic illness that is often very isolating. With diabetes you’re potentially checking your blood sugar at every meal, it messes up everything that you enjoy about food and interferes with your family and life, so I’m curious to see how being in a group setting works—what impact it has when patients can see, You’re not alone, you have support.”

The Free Clinics is actively seeking new, uninsured patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes or prediabetes to join the group.

For more information about the Diabetes program at The Free Clinics please contact Diabetes Case Manager Hannah Parks, RN at 828.697.8422 or

The Free Clinics is changing lives together, with hope and health. Established in 2001, TFC partners with over 220 volunteers and 179 community health care providers to ensure quality, accessible care for over 2,000 of our uninsured, low-income neighbors in Henderson and Polk Counties. TFC programming employs a person-centered model to address acute and chronic conditions, mental and behavioral health, medication access, and other barriers to health for the most vulnerable among us. To learn more, visit

The Pisgah Health Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2019, by a board of seven caring individuals focused on improving the health, wellness and lives of western North Carolina residents. The organization evolved out of the Transylvania Regional Hospital Foundation. Pisgah Health Foundation’s drive is to improve health and wellness by addressing healthy opportunities in targeted social determinants of health areas including Health, Food Insecurity, Housing, Social Cohesion and Education. Board Members include Cathleen Blanchard; Dave Neumann, Esq.; Jamie Ramsey, MD; Jeremy Purcell; Art Fisher; Jim Tyson, MD; Jim Wright, MD. Lex Green, CPA serves as President. To learn more, please visit


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