St. Luke's Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry

St. Luke's Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry

Diocese of Western Louisiana
January 28, 2015

Samuel McDonald, Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church, has announced 14 recipients of the Episcopal Church Jubilee Grants, totaling $49,965 to support mission and ministry in 11 dioceses.

Jubilee Ministries are congregations or agencies with connections to the Episcopal Church, designate by diocesan bishops and affirmed by Executive Council, whose mission work affects the lives of those in need, addressing basic human needs and justice issues.

Grants were awarded in two categories: Impact and Development.

Thirteen Impact Grants, ranging from $855 - $1,500 each was awarded to initiatives of Jubilee Centers that make a positive and measurable impact on the lives of those in need.

Holy Cross Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Western Louisiana was awarded a $1,200 grant to provide health education and healthcare, via the parish’s mobile medical van, to those in the community lacking access to services.

A seven-member committee with representatives from throughout the church reviewed 67 applications for grants.

Holy Cross, Shreveport, has been a Jubilee Ministries Center since 1984. The Rev. Mary Richard is the Jubilee Officer for the diocese and may be contacted by email at [email protected].

St. Luke’s Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry is the mobile medical ministry of the eight Episcopal churches of northwest Louisiana. Using the medical RV, free preventive health screenings, basic health services, health education, and medical referrals on a regular basis are provided to the underserved in the rural and urban Louisiana communities of Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Desoto and Claiborne parishes.

The mission goal is to break down the barriers that keep people from accessing health care, believing that all individuals have the right to health care. There is no charge for the services, which is especially helpful for the uninsured or underinsured. Care is offered to everyone who comes to the medical van site.

St. Luke’s chose to be mobile so that health services can be offered to communities in the settings were people live and work. In doing so, both accessible and quick health care can be offered to those who lack transportation or do not have the ability to take time off from work. Regular return visits to each community provide follow-up care to individuals and the development of long-term relationship with the community based on trust.

The volunteers at St. Luke’s look at the whole person—their physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs—working closely with other community organizations to refer individuals to appropriate services to that their needs can be met. While health screenings are quick, care is taken to spend as much time as needed with each individual.

Educating all who come into the van about their health and ways to take care of themselves helps to empower them in making healthy choices.

After an assessment of the needs of each Louisiana community visited and tailoring services to best meet those needs, free, basic, non-emergency health services and preventive health screenings are offered.

Screenings provide an early warning of an impending condition that, if gone untreated, could have much higher costs to the individual and community. The offering of preventive services and the discovery of chronic illnesses early on saves the greater health care system money by avoiding costly emergency room visits and costly treatment of complications that occur when chronic illnesses are not caught and treated in their early stages. To learn more about this, check out the “Return on Investment” calculator at www.mobilehealthmap.org.

Screenings offered include hypertension, diabetes, nutrition, and breast health.

Time spent helping clients to better understand their disease process and how to best mange it can bring about healthy lifestyle changes. Providing instruction in ways for individuals to take care of their health and the health of their family members gives both information and tools which then empower them to make healthier choices.

Health promotion and education subjects include nutrition and exercise, disease process and management, tobacco and alcohol cessation, medication management, and breast health education. 

This article, compiled with information from The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs, the Church of the Holy Cross-Shreveport, and the St. Luke's Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry website, is reprinted from the January 2015 issue of Alive!, the newspaper of The Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana.

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