NeighborHealth Center (NHC), a new faith-based community health center in Raleigh, N.C., opened its doors in June to offer primary care and other medical services to local residents, especially those from low-income, refugee and immigrant populations.
“[God] cares for these people,” said the center’s medical director, Doug Briggs. “Communicating that love to them through our medical work is our chief motivation.”
Before joining NHC, Briggs operated a medical clinic in southwest China for more than two decades, where he treated impoverished patients, trained village doctors and participated in public health initiatives.
NHC Executive Director Sue Ellen Thompson said the center sees both insured and uninsured patients, and it is federally qualified to accept Medicaid and Medicare coverage.
In its first two months, approximately 75 percent of NHC’s patients were uninsured, said another staff member.
“Pediatrics to geriatrics,” Thompson said, explaining how NHC provides ongoing and urgent care, in addition to some prenatal services.
Briggs and Thompson said they hope that as the clinic grows it is able to expand its practice to include a full slate of OB-GYN services, dental care and a residency program for doctors in training.
“We really have the world at our doorstep here in this part of North Carolina,” said Briggs, referring to the ethnic and economic diversity in the state’s Triangle region.
“We have the unique opportunity to see people when they are at their most vulnerable,” she added.
NHC is partly funded through partnerships with other ministries and local churches.
The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham helps support the clinic financially and through cooperation with a counseling program it launched in 2012 called Bridgehaven.
“Jesus taught us in Matthew 25:31-40 that true faith is marked by care and service to those in need, marginalized and ignored by society,” said Matt Humble, associate pastor at The Summit’s Durham campus.
“It is a privilege to stand alongside NeighborHealth as they seek to live out the gospel in healthcare.
“We know that people will not only have the opportunity to receive medical care but to hear and experience the healing power of the gospel.”
For more information, visit neighborhealthcenter.org.