Dan Martin: A Ferndale Treasure

Dan Martin: A Ferndale Treasure

By Mary Meldrum

FernCare Free Clinic | Ferndale Community Foundation | Ferndale Housing Commission

DAN MARTIN HAS NOT SLOWED DOWN SINCE HIS TENURE AS MAYOR OF FERNDALE. MARTIN IS CURRENTLY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE FERNCARE FREE CLINIC, AND AN ACTIVE MEMBER AND PRESIDENT OF THE FERNDALE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, AS WELL AS THE FERNDALE HOUSING COMMISSION.

FernCare Free Clinic

“EIGHTY PERCENT OF OUR PATIENTS HAVE JOBS but don’t have health care insurance. We conduct approximately 1,500 patient visits a year,” explains Dan.

While Martin is not a medical doctor, there are a number of very talented doctors who work at the free clinic. He’s been with FernCare for three years. FernCare was founded 15 years ago on the basis that everyone should have access to healthcare. FernCare has two guidelines.

• Age requirement between 19 and 65.
• Must not have health insurance. No fees are ever charged to any patient.

FernCare is not affiliated with any hospital. The volunteer doctors have jobs at Beaumont and Ascension Hospitals. FernCare works closely with Ascension as a teaching facility with that hospital. Many on the staff are on the path to becoming certified healthcare workers.

FernCare is a primary care office very much like any other primary care facility. They have a pharmacy, a lab, and provide case management for diabetics and other chronic diseases. FernCare also has provides durable medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs along with medical supplies which has been received as donations. FernCare staff help people find insurance and are a resource hub for folks to find other social services for food, housing, and other medical specialty services. FernCare also hosts mammogram services once a month through a partnership with Ascension and their mobile mammography truck, and they also offer tele-health services.

FernCare is Martin’s main job, and he is responsible for the overall operations, fundraising, recruitment, and general oversight of the non-profit and the clinic. He reports to a volunteer board of directors.

Dan insists that the true heart of FernCare is the volunteers; the doctors, nurses, and phlebotomists, about 70 in all. There are four part-time employees, but the majority of the work is completed through volunteerism.

Ferndale Community Foundation

THE FERNDALE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION provides micro-grants to local non-profits within the community. Organizations can submit requests for money for community health, education projects, etc.

The Foundation helped remodel the lower level of Affirmations for behavioral health practices, supports projects like our community concert band, funds speakers and trips for Ferndale-area seniors and pays for public art murals downtown. Additionally, the Foundation helps fund other non-profits like Michigan Stage. Also, they are the fiduciaries for Ferndale Pride and also support a lot of LGBT non-profits in the area. The Foundation gave over $20,000 worth of grants in 2022.

The Board members are all volunteers. The Foundation is not associated with the City government.

Ferndale Housing Commission

THE FERNDALE HOUSING BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS are appointed by the governing council, but that is the only link to the City of Ferndale. They manage 120 apartments and two apartment buildings in the city. They own 43 homes in the city, and manage 850 vouchers in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. A paid staff runs the daily operations.

Dan has lived in Ferndale for 17 years, and served eight years on City Council including four months as the mayor of Ferndale. He is originally from Bay City, and graduated from MSU in 1994. Martin has a background with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Among many other things about Ferndale, Dan really loves listening to our high school marching band.

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