Local Church and Hospital Team Up To Help Community

Texas Children's Hospital opened a new clinic today in a part of Houston that was said to be lacking in available health care. But what makes the story unique is that it's a partnership between the hospital and a church. As Bill Stamps reports, the project is part of Pastor Kirby John Caldwell's goal of taking the sanctuary to the streets.
He said the prayer at President George W. Bush's Inauguration. He was the minister at the Rocket's Tracy McGrady's wedding. He's built an entire neighborhood of affordable homes across from his southwest Houston church. And now, Windsor Village United Methodist Church Pastor Kirby Jon Caldwell has helped fulfill a more basic need in his community. Health care.

(choir singing Lean On Me)

A local school choir sung Lean On Me at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Texas Children's Pediatric Associates clinic. It's in walking distance from the church and across the street from a 450 home, church affiliated development called Corinthian point. This is Pastor Caldwell.

"The fact that Texas Children's Hospital is offering first class top draw health care to infants and children, theoretically, regardless of the parents ability to pay — in times like these is absolutely phenomenal."

Standing in front of the new facility and seeing the nice entry level homes surrounding it, you might not know you're in a low income neighborhood. But keep walking a bit and it'll be obvious. There's no Starbucks or Best Buy. Just a McDonalds and some run down businesses. Doctor Cheryl Hardin says people in the area would normally have to take their children to the emergency room but not anymore.

"Their parents take them to the emergency room for colds and ear infections, because there's not a doctor in their community who can see them...We will accept any child that walks through the door. Another unique thing about our practice is that we have social workers on staff, who are masters level social workers, who actually help us in caring for these families."

During the ceremony it was Pastor Caldwell who introduced Texas Children's Hospital CEO Mark Wallace.

"Now, that's going to be a hard act to follow; although, I kind of always wanted to be a preacher and I kind of feel like it today."

"God wants every single child on this planet to have a chance. At healthcare and accessibility to health care and physicians and socialworkers and nurses and dietitians whenever they need to and that's the concept and that's the precept of project medical home."


The clinic has been open since March. Maritza Smith took her four year old there earlier this week.

"It really wasn't an emergency. And I really didn't want to have to take her there. Cause I knew it would cost a lot more too. And I would get bills for 8 or 900 dollars that I couldn't afford."

Pastor Caldwell believes in providing needs for the community that other won't. When asked what his next project is he replied. I'll let you know.

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio news.