Terry Gant – Detroit Community Health Connection Inc.
- Written by: Kate Gardner
- Produced by: Julianna Roche & Alyssa LoVerso
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
A nonprofit health organization didn’t let lack of space stop it from administering COVID-19 vaccines. On the contrary, Terry Gant acquired, prepared and maintained trailers outside of Detroit Community Health Connection.
Despite being outdoor clinics, the trailers are medical facilities with all the complexities. Gant, the , and his staff keep them operating while ensuring they meet standards and regulations.
“The pandemic hit us so fast, so it was boots on the ground from the beginning,” Gant says. “When it came time to think about vaccines, we knew we had to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our patients and the larger community.”
Detroit Community Health Connection Inc. is a nonprofit primary care organization and federally qualified health center that provides affordable, accessible healthcare to underserved communities. It has eight locations in Michigan’s largest city.
In August 2020, the organization determined it wouldn’t have enough indoor space to administer vaccines once they became available. Gant helped apply for grants to rent the outdoor trailers.
By the time the funding was approved, and the trailers were rented, Gant and his team had less than one week to get them ready. The four trailers had to meet the organization’s standards for care, as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.
For instance, Gant and his staff had to run electrical out to each trailer from the main building. Heating and air conditioning units were installed shortly after.
“The trailers may be outside, but that doesn’t mean people should feel like they’re outside,” he says. “We couldn’t let the quality of our facilities, or care, suffer because of location.”
They also prepared the trailers to fit the medical equipment and supplies, as well as tables and seating, needed. According to Gant , the organization was administering 200-300 vaccines a week earlier this year when demand was highest.
“These trailers have given us the extra space we need to serve our community,” he says. “Being able to offer this service in addition to all the other services we have is really helping us give back and be a one-stop shop for medical needs.”
Now that the demand for vaccines has waned, Gant and his staff are transforming them into triage centers, which he expects to be finished by mid-summer. The trailers will be used to assess people with COVID-19 symptoms to determine their risk.
While maintaining the trailers and preparing them for triage, Gant has also been overseeing the organization’s 4.5 million square feet of indoor space. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, he oversaw getting all the personal protective equipment for his 150-person facilities department and other staff.
He installed touchless hand sanitizers as well as soap and paper towel dispensers at the entrance of each facility and added plexiglass barriers at check in stations. Gant has also accelerated the maintenance schedule for the organization’s HVAC systems to ensure air is being filtered and circulated properly.
All the while, Gant says he has remained available to department staff.
“I have an open-door policy with my team because I want them to know they can come to me with any issues or concerns they have,” he says.
As a lifelong Detroit resident, Gant is proud his work gives back to the people of his hometown.
He started at Detroit Medical Center as an environmental services manager before becoming the area manager for Detroit Public Schools through Aramark, a facilities provider company. He oversaw daily operations at 60 buildings within the district for over five years.
Gant’s work in the city’s education system continued another eight years through Inside Out Contracts, where he maintained quality and safety standards for school buildings. He’s also worked at the Detroit Department of Public Works.
He started at Detroit Community Health Connection at the onset of the pandemic, and while the year has been full of challenges, he says the work is rewarding.
“I’m so passionate about helping others, especially the people of Detroit,” Gant says. “Here I get to use my facilities experience to better the organization and give back out to the community we serve.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VIII 2021 Edition here.
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