Giving Back in Big Ways

Giving Back in Big Ways

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By Helen K. Kelley

From ATLANTA Medicine, Vol. 86, No. 1

When it comes to philanthropic causes, physicians are often on the front lines. Here, we feature some Atlanta doctors who are making a difference in the lives of others, both at home and across the miles. 

Providing free care and education to Atlanta’s uninsured

When Charles E. Moore, M.D., a head and neck cancer specialist with Grady Health System, saw that many of his patients had limited treatment options because they had sought help too late, he began looking for the reasons why.

“I found that most of my patients were coming from three zip codes in medically underserved areas around Grady, and that many of them had cancers that could have been easily treated if the disease had been identified early. There was a need for education and increased awareness,” he says. “Some of my patients would come to me, asking me to visit certain areas and provide help. I knew I needed to do something for these people.”

Dr. Moore began conducting what he calls “Tupperware clinics” out of the back of his car. Armed with medical supplies, he drove out into the community, visiting  nontraditional areas like homeless shelters, bridges and overpasses to talk about head and neck cancers and do screenings. There, he saw all of the additional medical needs that weren’t being addressed in people who had no access to care.  He recruited colleagues to help provide primary and specialized care.

From those humble beginnings, the initiative grew – the physicians began operating out of mobile health units and then a comprehensive medical facility, the HEALing Community Center, was established. Today the Center, located in downtown Atlanta, offers free and sliding scale healthcare to the uninsured, including primary, pediatrics and specialized care, and behavioral and mental health services.

Additionally, the Center focuses on teaching people about prevention, offering health, nutrition and cooking classes, and even one-on-one health coaching. Dr. Moore hosts a regular event called “Walk With a Doc,” in which he invites a specific community to hear a brief talk about health and then go on a one- to three-mile walk with him.

Dr. Moore says there are so many small things that make the project rewarding.

“People are so grateful for the help, and they’re hungry for the knowledge,” he says. “We help them take small steps toward improving their health and, in some aspects, their lives. We can provide them with hope that there’s a chance for something better. That’s the biggest reward.”

There is always a need for more physicians in primary care and various specializations to volunteer at the HEALing Community Center and participate in community outreach activities. For more information, call 404-564-7749 or go to www.healingourcommunities.org.

Read The Full Article Here: http://www.mdatl.com/2015/02/giving-back-in-big-ways-philanthropy-in-medical-field/

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