The first week of 2009 is almost past. I am in Louisville KY doing a Friday night Saturday morning first segment of our Neighborhood Transformation (NT) training. We have 45 participants from five churches based in the Shawnee Neighborhood where a new clinic for the urban poor is to be started. In addition there were people Shawnee Neighborhood Association. In addition we had 18 master degree students in social Work who wanted to help in doing asset mapping which we were going to learn in the training.
We are returning to the first CHE programs in Uganda and Kenya where we were part of a medical care facility. Dr. David Dageford has a vision to start a clinic for the poor in this Shawnee neighborhood in Louisville. He has been working with people in this neighborhood for well over a year developing relationships and trust. The Neighborhood Christian Health Care Clinic is in the center of the Shawnee neighborhood which has covers about a 14 square block area with 14,000 people living there. This is one of the poorest and least resourced neighborhoods in Louisville. They are attempting to raise funds to build a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC-look alike)
The exciting thing about this is that before any money is raised or property acquired they will be establishing a Neighborhood Transformation program through a group of churches in the neighborhood and with the existing Shawnee Neighborhood Association. This means NT will precede opening of the curative clinic which will be wholistic in approach.
This could be a new model to work with other curative clinics reaching out to under resourced neighborhoods throughout the US. We are also working with a new FQHC in Corbin KY where a group of Christian physicians have their clinic in the neighborhood as well as a church they go to. We introduced them to CHE about four years ago and just did a refresher visit introducing to NT to be used in the neighborhood surrounding their new clinic.
In addition the ‘Christian Community Health Fellowship’ (CCHF) is a network of many Christian clinics spread across North America s involved in helping FQHC programs. We have known of each other over the years and have just begun to talk about how we might be of help to each other. Our NT and Clinic model in Kentucky could open up many new avenues for NT thru CCHF.
We trained the participants in ABCD and then sent two teams of two or three people into each of five sub-neighborhoods for one hour with a community person on each team. They collected information from 18 residents. But Saturday morning is not a good time to visit people for two reasons in Shawnee: many people had just gotten to bed and also Jehovah Witnesses do door to door evangelism there weekly therefore people do not open their doors. The information will be loaded into a new data base and more information will be gathered by the neighborhood people. All agreed that once you got past the front door people were very open to answer the seven questions. All in all it was a good weekend.
The hoped for outcome from this meeting is that the Neighborhood Association and four or five churches say they want to do start a Neighborhood Transformation program at a meeting on Jan 29th.