Need knows no boundaries of ethnicity, age, faith or gender. Neither do we.
Need knows no boundaries of ethnicity, age, faith or gender. Neither do we.

Medical care for our homeless neighbors

The homeless now have a home for medical care and wraparound services, thanks to the collaboration of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., Christ Community Health Services and Catholic Charities of West Tennessee (CCWTN).

The joy of all involved was obvious during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of on-site medical offices for Baptist Operation Outreach at the Catholic Charities offices at 1325 Jefferson Ave. The event recognized the importance of a dedicated site to provide medical care to individuals or families without permanent housing. The health center is open to patients from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at CCWTN, 1325 Jefferson Ave., in Memphis.

Established in 2004, Baptist Operation Outreach is a partnership of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and Christ Community Health Services that has long offered a mobile health clinic for the homeless. The mobile health service will continue throughout the city.

CCWTN also has a history of partnering with Christ Community. In 1997, Christ Community initiated a mobile medical service in the gym of Catholic Charities for the immigrant and refugee community. Ten years later, Christ Community expanded the service to include homeless patients, and the clinic was open at CCWTN through 2017.

Shantelle Leatherwood, CEO of Christ Community Health Services, praised Dick Hackett, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, for his part in making the new clinic site possible. "Dick Hackett opened up his home and said, ‘We want you to come right in.’ And to Dick and Catholic Charities I say, ‘Without your support and foresight, we would not be here today.’”

With the opening of Baptist Operation Outreach’s primary location at CCWTN, opportunities to offer additional services to the homeless have expanded.  The clinic specializes in providing primary and acute care for the homeless as well as dental, vision and social services. “We are excited to strengthen our partnership with Catholic Charities by establishing our primary clinic location inside CCWTN,” said Jan Taylor, program manager for Baptist Operation Outreach. “This new endeavor will make it convenient for our patients to access additional social services such as CCWTN’s food pantry, clothes closet and Driving the Dream program.”

Ms. Leatherwood said that the goal of Christ Community is to provide supportive wraparound services for customers, and that the location at Catholic Charities “is the first demonstration of our vision.”

Baptist Operation Outreach will continue to operate its mobile van, and the addition of the permanent location will allow the outreach to double its capacity, said Jason Little, CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care.