In their 30+ years of existence, Church Health has served over 70,000 underserved individuals who have little or no access to affordable healthcare. Recent college graduates get to be a part of this mission by getting involved in the Church Health Scholars Program.
Through a year-long fellowship, the Church Health Scholars Program equips young professionals to learn about the medical and public health fields by pairing service-based experiences with academic theory, theology, and personal reflection. This is accomplished through several required and optional components like working alongside full-time staff serving health seekers and community members (required), becoming a part of the Church Health Scholar Mentor Program (optional), and gaining a certificate in Faith and Health (optional).
The Church Health Scholars program provides hands-on education in health and faith in the Memphis community. Applications are open now for the 2019-2020 cohort. Learn more about the program experience in our Q & A with Church Health Scholars Program alum Joseph Freeman.
Tell us about your experience in the Church Health Scholar Program.
My experience at Church Health would have to be one of the best experiences of my life. I have had many “jobs”, but have never felt a true calling until being at Church Health. all the employees from leadership down have that sense of calling and you can literally feel it when you come in the door. It is so much fun and is so rewarding to work together with people who all feel called to be there rather than working their “9 to 5” job and going home.
How did you learn about the Church Health Scholar Program?
I learned about Church Health through a friend who was a scholar in the class above me. He told me about Dr. Morris and how just listening to him speak can change you. I really did not believe him until I had the chance to hear his vision myself. Needless to say, I was hooked and ALL IN. His entire vision from how we can change the healthcare system to the way to become closer to your patients was so inspiring I knew I must be apart of this organization. I kept calling and emailing until the coordinator final gave in and allowed me to be a scholar.
How did the Scholars Program impact your vision for what you want to do with your profession?
Before becoming a scholar I knew I wanted to be a doctor but I did not know what being a doctor really meant. I always wanted to help people but how did a doctor really do that other than prescribing meds or performing surgery? Being at church health allowed me to see how it actually happened on a day to day basis. Seeing the work that is done there was eye-opening to me and allowed me to see that I was on the right path and had chosen the profession I was meant to be a part of.
What was the most impactful experience you gained from being a Scholar?
The best part of being a scholar was the patient stories. Our patients come from all over the world and have so many different life experiences. I am always amazed at what incredible strength they have and how they stick to their faith no matter what. I have laughed, I have cried, and I have become a better person from knowing our patients. They have taught me more about the person I want to be and how to really be close to another person.
How has Church Health influenced the direction of your career?
Church Health had such a strong impact on me that I decided to join the inaugural class of the Church Health Family Medicine Residency. I am a 3rd-year resident and will be graduating in June. I will be taking a job in Covington TN, still the 901, my hometown. I will be serving another underserved community there. I will always have a special place in my heart for Church Health and plan on volunteering as often as I can.