LIVING OUR MISSION

2019 IMPACT REPORT

Dear Friends,

Church health is the health care home to thousands of our uninsured, underserved working neighbors across Shelby County. In FY2019 alone, we had more than 62,000 patient encounters. People sought out Church Health for guidance, encouragement, treatment and connection… and hope for healing.

But as this report shows, the reach goes beyond our patients. Church Health engages people of faith to care for one another. Together, we help others experience more joy in their lives, more love in their lives and a closer connection to God.

Our Model for Healthy Living is at the center of Church Health. True health goes beyond medical care; it encompasses emotions, work, nutrition, friends and family and spiritual life. Whether in an exam room or cooking class, congregation or community event, engagement in Church Health will often touch more than one component of the Model.

And we find—and these stories will show—that engagement in this work, whether as a patient, volunteer, donor or staff member, enhances well-being.

Thank you for your dedication, generosity and prayers. And may you experience the full richness of life.

With hope for healing,

Scott Morris, M.D., M.Div.

Bob Turner, D.D.S.

Bob Turner, D.D.S.

Church Health Volunteer

Making Us Smile

Dr. Bob Turner likes to show off before and after photos of his patients’ mouths. The retired dentist, who practiced in California for decades before moving to Memphis, builds dentures as a volunteer provider. “The kind of patients I see here now are much more rewarding,” Dr. Turner says, sharing photos of advanced tooth decay, mouths missing teeth and a beautiful set of new dentures. “Patients come in pain, they can’t eat. They speak with their hands over their mouths—they can’t smile, they can’t hold a job.” The transformations are amazing and can change a patient’s life. “I have my smile back again,” a patient told Dr. Turner when her dentures were complete. Dr. Turner is all-in: “I would say that Church Health has the most impact for the most people in a positive way.” He started volunteering seven years ago, and said, “I look forward to it every week, and I’m sure every volunteer would tell you that. It’s very special.”

Learn more: churchhealth.org/clinicalservices/dental
Rende Bechtel

Rende Bechtel

Madison Pharmacy, Church Health Partner

Peace, Love & Partnership

It’s not surprising that the staff of Madison Pharmacy at Crosstown Concourse wears matching t-shirts that say, “Peace, Love, Madison Pharmacy.” The pharmacy, owned by pharmacist Rende Bechtel, has been serving Church Health patients since before the move to their Crosstown location. “We’ve been here since the beginning,” says Bechtel. The pharmacy has become a valued partner for all of Church Health’s patients. 

“We try to offer a fair price,” she said. “We’d rather give a patient a good cash price than have to deal with insurance,” though they honor plenty of insurance plans.  

Because Madison Pharmacy is both a commercial and a compounding pharmacy, they can work with Church Health patients to solve problems and give them as many options as possible. “Whether it’s a delivery system, making something into a liquid for a baby or helping people figure out their dosage, we try to do whatever we can help our patients solve their problems and get the right medicine,” says Bechtel. She has also hired bilingual staff to help the Spanish-speaking patients that come to the pharmacy get the best service possible. 

Rende admires the range of services that Church Health offers to patients, especially the cooking classes that can help them prepare healthy food. “We do see people whose medicine decreases,” she said. “I love hearing those successes.”  

Learn more: churchhealth.org/pharmacy
Stephanie Linkous & Hilda Gallegos

Stephanie Linkous & Hilda Gallegos

Church Health Volunteers

Make a Meal, Share a Meal

“I knew she could get better care at Church Health,” Stephanie Linkous says of her friend Hilda Gallegos after Hilda’s surgery in 2010. What began as a working relationship ripened into friendship. “She wants better for me, and I want better for her. That’s how we started talking about Church Health.”  

In many ways the two women’s lives overlap. They share deep faith. Their children are about the same ages—now grown. They’ve dug into each other’s lives over the years.   

They grew up in different cultures and settings. Hilda is a Church Health patient, and Stephanie a loyal Church Health friend. Church Health’s Nutrition Hub is the latest way they’ve “dug in together.” 

Twice Stephanie made meals in the Nutrition Hub kitchen as part of Make a Meal, Share a Meal, knowing that shared meals would go to Church Health patients. And she thought about Hilda’s mouth-watering descriptions of the delicious food when the women from her church gathered for meals.  

“We come from fourteen different countries,” Hilda explains. “When we give a women’s breakfast or brunch, everybody brings something from her country.”  

After several volunteer experiences of her own, Stephanie suggested Hilda’s church might want to do Make a Meal, Share a Meal at the Nutrition Hub. The enthusiasm was instant. The woman planned a healthy menu of rice, chicken fajitas, and green salad—a meal with plenty of vegetables.  

Hilda is eager to learn about other ways her congregation can support Church Health. “I can see the difference when people work for the pay and when people work for love. I look forward to going to the doctor now. If there is a door open to give back, we’re ready.”   

Learn more: churchhealth.org/volunteer
Pastor Jason Turner

Pastor Jason Turner

Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church, Church Health Board of Trustees

Devloping Habits for Health

When the Rev. Jason Turner arrived in Memphis seven years ago to be Senior Pastor at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, people in his congregation told him about the work of Church Health, founded and led by fellow Yale Divinity School alumnus Dr. Scott Morris.  

“But when I saw it with my own eyes, what I saw was an expansive set-up, born of a great deal of tenacity,” he said. “What I saw was people doing meaningful work, not for show or simply charity, but out of a deep conviction, focusing on people who were often overlooked.” 

Conversations between Pastor Turner and Dr. Morris about the relationship between faith and health led to a Lenten challenge for the Mississippi Blvd. congregation: 40 Days of Fitness. Instead of just fasting, the congregation committed to move 30 minutes every day, or omit fat and salt from their diets, among other initiatives. “It’s one way we anchored health concerns in the life of our faith community,” said Rev. Turner. “Developing habits that help us live long and well.”  

It’s a message Rev. Turner says is needed, both in his church and in the wider community. If we are serious about connecting the word of God to healthy living, “we have to talk about it,” he said.  

In many ways the two women’s lives overlap. They share deep faith. Their children are about the same ages—now grown. They’ve dug into each other’s lives over the years.   

They grew up in different cultures and settings. Hilda is a Church Health patient, and Stephanie a loyal Church Health friend. Church Health’s Nutrition Hub is the latest way they’ve “dug in together.” 

Twice Stephanie made meals in the Nutrition Hub kitchen as part of Make a Meal, Share a Meal, knowing that shared meals would go to Church Health patients. And she thought about Hilda’s mouth-watering descriptions of the delicious food when the women from her church gathered for meals.  

“We come from fourteen different countries,” Hilda explains. “When we give a women’s breakfast or brunch, everybody brings something from her country.”  

After several volunteer experiences of her own, Stephanie suggested Hilda’s church might want to do Make a Meal, Share a Meal at the Nutrition Hub. The enthusiasm was instant. The woman planned a healthy menu of rice, chicken fajitas, and green salad—a meal with plenty of vegetables.  

Hilda is eager to learn about other ways her congregation can support Church Health. “I can see the difference when people work for the pay and when people work for love. I look forward to going to the doctor now. If there is a door open to give back, we’re ready.”   

Learn more: churchhealth.org/faithcommunityengagement
Emile Bizot

Emile Bizot

Church Health Legacy Society

Leaving a Legacy

It was Emile Bizot’s involvement with his church – Shady Grove Presbyterian – that brought Church Health to his attention, so long ago he can’t remember when the organization wasn’t part of his life. “We did our Race for Grace, and donated the proceeds to Church Health,” Emile says. “Scott (Morris) came and spoke at church (in connection with the race), and I got involved then.”  

The work that Church Health does sounded so fantastic, Emile couldn’t believe there’s not a similar organization in every city. He takes great pleasure in recommending the care that Church Health provides. “I always feel for people who work hard but don’t have insurance; it makes you feel good to be able to tell them about something that will help them,” he said.  

It was when Emile, who is retired from a 55-year career as a stockbroker and financial planner, was treasurer at Shady Grove Presbyterian that he and his wife Carole decided to join the Church Health Legacy Society and leave a gift to Church Health in their will. “We were promoting the idea of leaving the church in your will, and we thought it was time to add Church Health to our plans.” 

Emile also happily serves on the Church Health Board of Directors, and encourages others to support Church Health as much as they can. “You know, you try to influence people whenever you know about something good,” he says.  

Carole Bizot, of blessed memory, passed away in January 2020.

Learn more: churchhealth.org/legacy

Susan Nelson, M.D.

Susan Nelson, M.D.

Church Health Medical Director

Connecting with Patients

Dr. Susan Nelson knew Church Health was a unique and special place when she became Medical Director in 2015; after all, she began as a volunteer provider in 1998. But spend even a few minutes in her clinic and you can see she is allin.  

Why? “We don’t do this for the money,” she said. “And the practice of medicine in America, sadly, is all about the money. Most places aren’t able to do the things that we do here. They’re not able to offer a health coach, a social worker, a physical therapist, a dentist ….”  

As Medical Director, she spends half of her time seeing patients and the other half looking at the total Church Health system, working with colleagues to figure out “how do we give better care to people?” Not just for each individual patient, but for all of the patients who come to Church Health. It takes time, sometimes lots of time, to help patients who have received poor care other places or who are suspicious or simply don’t know they can feel better.  

And it can be difficult. “I was seeing a lady who has sinus issues, some psychiatric diagnoses and needs her teeth fixed. I know she’s fragile and I know she has a lot of fear. So I’m trying to be chill. Is there some key that’ll fit in that lock to build a little trust?”  

She points out that every practitioner at Church Health is like that, and Dr. Morris works constantly to develop a culture of respect for patients. “To be in a practice where the nurses and medical assistants and doctors are all genuinely committed to building trust with each and every patient is pretty great.” 

Learn more: churchhealth.org/clinic

FY2019: Church Health by the Numbers

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