Community of Hope Health Clinichttp://www.communityofhopeclinic.org
On March 30, 2007, community stakeholders who had expressed interest in developing a free health clinic in Shelby County first convened to discuss the future development of such a clinic. The Director of the Good Samaritan Clinic in Cullman, Alabama and a representative of the Alabama Association of Free Clinics, outlined the planning process and discussed the ‘lessons learned’ by clinics from around the state. A representative from Baptist Health System, affirmed Shelby Baptist Medical Center was seeing an increasing need for health care services for the medically uninsured. It was also noted that Shelby Baptist Medical Center was internally evaluating the need for a free or low-cost health clinic. The hospital’s due diligence had confirmed the need for such a medical clinic. The Director of the Shelby County Department of Human Resources, added that the lack of affordable health care for low-income, working poor is a deterrent to employment and often is the precipitating cause for persons to return to the ‘welfare rolls.’ The Shelby County Manager, stated that the county would support the development of a free clinic and that his staff would actively serve on the task force. The United Way of Central Alabama agreed to help facilitate as well. A local pediatrician and representative of Asbury United Methodist Church, agreed to chair the task force. In the months ahead, the steering committee further developed and chose the name “Community of Hope Health Clinic” (CHHC) to depict both the community involvement and the hope for better health for Shelby County residents. In August of 2007, the CHHC steering committee formally affiliated with the Volunteers in Medicine Institute to obtain assistance in starting a VIM-modeled clinic in Shelby County Alabama. Funds generously provided by Asbury United Methodist Church were utilized to cover travel-related expenses of hosting a VIM representative for a series of public forums wherein ideas were explored as to how to develop a free clinic.