Dr. Scott Morris, a family practice physician and ordained United Methodist minister, founded Church Health in 1987 to provide quality, affordable healthcare for working, uninsured people and their families.
In 1986, after college, seminary, medical school and his ordination as a United Methodist minister, Dr. Morris moved to Memphis, one of the poorest major cities in America. Dr. Morris knew the need would certainly be there, and if Church Health could work in Memphis, it could work anywhere.
Support from Memphis’ Faith & Health Community
That same year, Dr. Morris was appointed Associate Pastor at St. John’s United Methodist Church and then began to plan and raise the initial funding for Church Health. St. John’s, located in Midtown Memphis, purchased the organization’s first building, a dilapidated boarding house across the stret from the church, and agreed to lease it for $1 per year.
Central Church then agreed to finance the renovation of the building and its conversion to a clinic. The Plough Foundation and Methodist Hospital each provided funding to launch Church Health.
Dr. Morris and one nurse saw 12 patients at Church Health on September 1, 1987. Thanks to a broad base of financial support from the faith community and the volunteer help of doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare providers, Church Health has since expanded to provide medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry, physical rehabilitation, wellness and nutrition services and outreach. In addition, extensive support has provided to faith-based and community organizations to build health ministries and wellness programs.
The Model for Healthy Living
In 2008, the Model for Healthy Living was introduced and now serves as the cornerstone for Church Health care and outreach; health and well-being are defined by Faith, Medical, Movement, Work, Emotions, Nutrition, and Friends & Family.
The Move to Crosstown Concourse
In March 2017, Church Health consolidated operations of its thirteen facilities into Crosstown Concourse, former home to a Sears-Roebuck distribution and retail center that had been rehabilitated to a glorious “vertical urban community.”
Today, more than 45 businesses and 260 apartments call Crosstown Concourse home.
Health Education & Prevention
Healthcare is about more than just prescribing pills. We believe we have a responsibility to take care of the bodies God gave us, so we have been committed from our beginning to health education and prevention.
Our wellness programming now offers everything from community cooking classes in our state-of-the-art Teaching Kitchen to group yoga, Pilates and dance classes in our Creative Movement Studio. We also offer activities for children and families in The Well, Church Health’s family wellness center.
Preach, Teach & Heal
Our Faith Community Outreach staff offers hope for a healthier life by reaching people where they worship. Church Health provides the support, consultation and education to start or strengthen health ministries in congregations. Since 1988, more than 1200 Congregational Health Promoters have been trained to be health leaders within their congregations. Faith Community Outreach also develops faith-health curriculum for congregations and collaborates with faith communities in other ways as well.
The MEMPHIS Plan is Church Health’s employer-sponsored healthcare plan for small business and the self-employed. By relying on donated services from volunteer doctors and area hospitals and laboratories, the MEMPHIS Plan offers uninsured people in lower-wage jobs access to quality, affordable healthcare.