Christ Community Opens Women’s Health Center

By Bill Dries

The two health care providers that competed two years ago for Shelby County government’s family planning services contract now have facilities in the same block of Poplar Avenue east of East Parkway.

Christ Community Health Services formally opened its new Women’s Health Center, Thursday, Nov. 14, at 2400 Poplar Ave.

Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region has been at 2430 Poplar Ave. since November 2010.

The two agencies competed in 2011 for a $785,000 four-year family planning services contract with Shelby County government in a Shelby County Commission vote and debate that, in part, reflected a hard-fought contest between two providers with different beliefs about abortion.

Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions as well as other family planning services, lost the contract for federal grant money it had held for many years to CCHS.

Planned Parenthood leaders argued that Christ Community wasn’t as centrally located as it was on Poplar Avenue. Christ Community leaders countered that they had multiple locations of their primary care clinics and centers across the city.

“Our goal is for the women’s center to become known as the best place for health care for women regardless of economic or social status,” said Dr. Kira Cooley, the lead physician of the Christ Community Health Services women’s center.

The services at the center, which covers 3,947 square feet, include contraceptives as well as prenatal care. Cooley said the center will specifically help in attacking the city’s high infant mortality rate.

Before the center on Poplar, she said Christ Community had been turning away 180 patients, most of them women, on a daily basis. Most of Christ Community’s patients – 64 percent – are women and girls.