When Linda Kaminkow, 52, of Dundalk stepped into Coppin State University’s community health center in 2005, she quickly fell in love with the friendly smiles, one-on-one attention and positive atmosphere.

“The clinic, overall, is a wonder,” she said. “From the lady at the front desk to the medical assistants to the doctors, they are very professional and thorough.”

Linda and her husband Danny Kaminkow, 60, are now regular patients at the university health facility. They undergo intensive treatment there – Danny for two serious heart conditions and Linda for recent knee replacement surgery.

“I can actually say (this) is one of the best clinics I have ever been to,” Linda says with a smile.

For 16 years, Coppin State has headed a health center on its campus, providing medical and preventative services for Baltimore City and ensuring training opportunities for its nursing students.

This fall, the university expanded its health outreach to East Baltimore with the September opening of the once school-based only St. Frances Academy Health Center (SFA). The clinic, located inside the Catholic High School, St. Frances Academy, is now open to the public.

And this new health hub isn’t the only way Coppin is touching the community.

The institution, whose leaders take pride in educating and empowering the underserved, also premiered a fitness facility and neighborhood computer center last month.

In addition to offering health care services, Coppin is promoting healthy eating and fitness with its new Health and Wellness Center. The unique wellness hub is located in the school’s new multi-million dollar physical education complex on Gwynns Falls Parkway.

It houses a membership-based fitness facility, an indoor swimming pool, two recreation rooms and a dance studio. Weekly classes are now offered in aerobic fitness, cycling, racquetball, strength training, swimming and yoga. Personal trainers are also available. The general public, Coppin employees and students can take advantage of these new services at rates far less than commercial gyms.

“We are excited to provide services that support healthier, happier lives,” said Coppin President Reginald Avery. “As we expand both on campus and in the community, (we) will continue to develop innovative programs and services that enhance healthcare to urban communities.”?Coppin is also teaching Baltimore residents how to compete in this ever-changing technology age with the Coppin Heights-Rosemont Family Computer Center. The school offers 15 free internet training and educational programs for the community on Coppin’s front porch.

Coppin trainers host courses designed to create jobs, promote health education and help the 35,000 residents in the surrounding area develop savvy internet skills. The center and its activities were made possible by a $932,000 grant Coppin received from the U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this year.

The unveilings of Coppin’s new health clinic, wellness facility and community computer center shine light on the university’s revitalization and physical expansion, but more importantly, reflect Coppin’s intention to share the excitement and resources with the Baltimore community, beautifying the surroundings and uplifting the spirits of its people, just as it did for the Kaminkows.

Shernay Williams

Special to the AFRO