Good Samaritan Health Center (2005)
In 1995, Dr. Bill Warren left his
private pediatric practice in Sandy Springs to fulfill a calling: he wanted to
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Good Samaritan 2005 Update
Lord enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. Acts 4: 29-30
On Tuesday, September 13, 2005 CityLights kicked off a new year at the Good Samaritan Health Center, downtown. Dr. Bill Warren, the Center's founder and executive director, and Whitney Jerdal, director of development and public relations, hosted the meeting and served as our guides.
From the time Bill Warren began studying medicine, he felt God calling him to serve communities in need. As he gained exposure to medical missions programs and experienced a deepening faith, Warren began to think critically about what the Lord wanted for his life and how he might use the talents he'd been given to serve the poor. After thirteen years as a pediatrician in private practice, he began to get a stronger sense of where and when God might lead him.
It all started around Christmas time, 1994, in the Techwood Baptist Church. Warren wanted his children to adopt a family for Christmas, and hoped that the lesson taught to them might also serve to connect him with Atlanta's inner city neighborhoods. The pastor of the church offered to give Warren a tour, and in so doing, introduced him to a small, understaffed medical center designed for the underserved. There, a door was opened, and in a matter of months Warren submitted his resignation to his medical partners at Scottish Rite (all of whom said he was crazy) and began a long and arduous journey to provide comprehensive, affordable healthcare to Atlanta's underserved communities.
Today, the clinic that began in Techwood Baptist Church is now known as the Good Samaritan Center, and in 2004 saw 17,500 patients. Its mission statement, "Spreading Christ's love through healthcare to people in need," pervades the whole of the place. It is written on the hearts of Good Samaritan's staff of volunteers and staff doctors, as well as those who serve in administrative and office faculties. Were it not for the building's clientele, most of whom arrive by bus or foot or beat-up car, visitors would never know that the clinic is a nonprofit or that most of its clients are deemed the "working poor."
Good Samaritan's office corridors, hand painted with bright, welcoming Biblical themes lead to clean, well-equipped examining rooms. General medical and dental facilities make up the core of the facility, but Good Samaritan offers its patients a number of advanced services, including orthopedics , cardiology, physical therapy, radiology, pulmonology, mammography, OB-GYN, gastroenterology, Christian counseling by licensed counselors and comprehensive health education. Seventy percent of Good Samaritan's patients pay for their services on a sliding fee scale. According to Warren, the fees empower, rather than discourage, patients. They take better care of themselves because they have paid for their medical visits and feel that they have earned them. Roughly twenty percent of Good Samaritan?s patients are considered destitute, and they receive the care free of charge, while ten percent of the Center?s clients receive government assistance for the healthcare.
In recent years, Good Samaritan has grown to include 28 staff members, added property to its downtown location (across the street from Atlanta's new aquarium), and opened two new centers in Cobb and Gwinnett counties. Volunteer physicians and staff members spread God?s love primarily through prayer and support, but they do offer patients tracts and Bibles at appropriate times.
On Tuesday, the staff allowed City Lights to take part in a ritual which normally occurs each Friday at the Center: a devotional in Good Samaritan's waiting room made up of scripture reading and prayer, read and spoken in English and Spanish. The service was brief, but moving, and at the end, patients of all races and classes requested prayers for suffering family members and friends, or for their own health concerns. The devotional created a moment of oneness in a world too often distracted by racial and societal separations and constraints. Doctors, nurses, professionals, the sick and the poor stood together in prayer and meditation at Good Samaritan as the Kingdom of God converged.
Good Samaritan is always in need of volunteers. Specifically, the Center is in need of a dermatologist who might be willing to donate his or her time. Please keep Good Samaritan in your prayers, and spread some good words about the great work they are doing!
For more information on the Good Samaritan Health Center, go to www.goodsamatl.org, or contact them at 404-523-6571.
- 24/7 Gateway (2005)
- AMEN, Inc. (2005)
- Atlanta American Red Cross (2005)
- Atlanta Community Food Bank (2006)
- Atlanta Development Authority (2005)
- Atlanta Housing (2006)
- Atlanta Intercultural Ministries (2005)
- Atlanta Mission (2011)
- Atlanta Youth Academy (2007)
- Beltline & Proposed Westside Park (2011)
- Buckhead Christian Ministry (2006)
- Carver Bible College (2006)
- Carver YMCA (2009)
- Charis Community Housing (2012)
- Childspring (2007)
- City of Refuge
- Communitites in Schools (2005, 2007,2011)
- Covenant House (2004)
- Create Your Dreams (2005)
- David Allman and Friends (2004)
- Families First (2006)
- FCS Urban Ministries
- Frazer Center (2012)
- Georgia Student Leadership Forum
- Good Samaritan Health Center (2005)
- How People Grow (2012)
- Jars of Clay Outreach (2006)
- Justice (2012)
- The Leaders Lyceum
- Life Lessons (2006)
- Mary Mac's (2009)
- MedShare International (2004)
- SafeHouse Outreach (2005)
- Sears Building Becoming Ponce City Market (2012)
- Theatrical Outfit (2011)