Last week we highlighted the On Location: MEMPHIS International Film & Music Festival and “Memphis Rocks” category, which is a free opportunity for Memphians to submit short videos that spotlight positive perspectives about our city for a chance to see them shown on the silver screen. This week let us turn our attention to an organization that is now “well beyond a century” with a true heartbeat of giving back to the community: Baptist Memorial Health Care.
Regarded as one of the most premier health care systems in the nation, Baptist Memorial Health Care is an award-winning network dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality care for patients. Since their modest beginning in 1912 with a 150-bed hospital, Baptist has grown to 14 affiliate hospitals throughout the Mid-South in order to meet the expanding needs of our community. The same caring atmosphere and mission that inspired the founders continues today to lead every aspect of operation at Baptist.
One of my favorite sides to Baptist is their community efforts and collaborative nature to giving back. Through Baptist Operation Outreach, for example, they are teaming with Christ Community Health Services to reach beyond the walls of their hospitals and provide free health care to more than 3,000 homeless patients a year. Free primary medical, dental, and vision care is provided four days a week. Their clinic is located in Midtown at Jefferson and Cleveland and on Mondays you can find them at Memphis Union Mission. At the end of this month, they will be expanding to five days a week with an additional site at Salvation Army. Later this summer they will be unveiling their new mobile unit, which will help increase capacity even further.
Baptist partnered to create the Bellevue Baptist Christian Mobile Dental Clinic, which goes to churches throughout the community in underserved areas. Dentists volunteer to help provide free dental care to families and individuals who have little or no access to dental care. Since its inception in 2008, the dental van has served over 7,500 individuals. Recognizing the need to provide vision care and eyeglasses, so children and adults can see clearly at school and apply for jobs, Baptist partnered yet again. Southern College of Optometry verifies initial screenings conducted in the clinic and writes prescriptions, which are then filled by Davis Vision to provide free eyeglasses.
Teamed with the health care, Baptist has a partnership with the Community Alliance for the Homeless, which helps families and individuals find permanent housing. This holistic and collaborative approach is a perfect example of the power of partnerships. With more families and children now living on the streets, the face of homelessness has changed. It is critical for us, as a community, to support and foster even more of this teamwork in order to transform our city.
Jeremy Park, director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter (@lpbreakfastclub) and Facebook (facebook.com/lpbreakfastclub).