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We Changed Their Dreams

I am reading a new book by historian Thomas J. Ward, Jr. and Jack Gieger, MD. The book, Out in the Rural, published in December, by Oxford press is a history of the development of the Tufts-Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou Mississippi. It was one of the first two community health centers created as a part of Lyndon Johnson Great Society legislation.

It is the story of how a poor black community, partnered with a white New England Physician (Geiger) and a black public health official (John Hatch) to create a model of health care that developed into the Community Health Center Model we deliver today. In describing the community impact of the creation of Tufts-Delta Health Center, Hatch stated, “We changed their dreams.”

Reading this book has reminded me how important it is that we advocate for the model of care we believe in so fiercely. This model, now called the patient centered medical home model, insists that health is more than being free from illness. Health is also about having secure housing, enough food to eat, feeling safe in your relationships, and an income that is at least in line with the median household income.

Katy Trail Community Health recently revisited our vision and our values. We agreed that our vision is to be the first choice for your health and wellness. We put people first. We value our employees and the communities we serve. We believe in empowerment, dignity, integrity, teamwork, accessibility, and excellence. Our vision and values are what we must advocate when we are working with policy makers at both the state and the national level. Our values insist we advocate, not only for our model of care, but also for our patients and those people whom are not our patients but are living in difficult circumstances.

Katy Trail Community Health is initiating a new advocacy plan to help employees, patients, our larger communities, elected officials and policy makers understand our model and our vision. We are reaching out to all this constituencies and asking them to help us tell our story. Will you join us?

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