Detroit Stories Episode 15: ‘Cabrini Clinic: On the Front Lines Since 1834’ (PODCAST)

Discover Detroit’s best kept secret: the oldest free clinic in America with a commitment to doing the right thing

(1:12) In 1834, America’s first free clinic — and Detroit’s first hospital — was established to help those who’d contracted cholera. One hundred years later, it became the Cabrini Clinic, a clinic focused on serving the poorest of the poor.

(3:27) Nurse practitioner Alisa Smith gives an example of how far patients come for help at the Cabrini Clinic, executive director Tawana Neetles-Robinson shares how volunteer-based the clinic is, and we learn about the wide range of services it provides.

(5:32) Former executive director Sr. Mary Ellen Howard, RSM, talks about the clinic’s founder, Fr. Clement Kern, and his vision and commitment to serving the blue-collar community.

(8:12) Neetles-Robinson discusses the effect the pandemic had on the clinic and how it was still able to rise to the occasion, not canceling even a single clinical session and remaining dedicated to its patients. She talks about the outreach the clinic did to ensure patients with chronic conditions still received the care they needed.

(12:38) Smith and Neetles-Robinson share some of the successes of their outreach efforts, including a recent increase in patients coming to the clinic for care, and Smith reaffirms the compassionate nature of the Cabrini Clinic, a place that strives, in Fr. Kern’s image, to always do the right thing.

Reporting by Daniel Meloy; narration by Casey McCorry; production by Ron Pangborn

Listen to ‘Detroit Stories’ on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify . Podcasts also will be posted biweekly on

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