DALLAS - The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for greater access to healthcare in underserved communities.
A Dallas alliance of churches has partnered in a first-of-its-kind project anywhere in the nation to create medical clinics located in churches.
"Most of the communities we serve in are not only food deserts, but they're medical deserts," said Pastor David Wilson, President, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.
During the pandemic, many churches hosted COVID-19 testing and vaccine pop-up clinics. This new effort is trying to take the next step in an effort managed by At Your Door Labs.
"Convenient care they can stay in their vehicles they can have their kids with them they could be in and out in ten minutes," said Anwar Kazi, CEO.
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The IMA is entering into an agreement with At Your Door Labs and non-profit Health Momentum to permanently place community health clinics in churches.
"The centers that we aim to open and co-locate with your churches will be centers that are federally qualified centers," said Lorna Lizotte, Managing Director, Health Momentum. "That means your inability to pay does not affect your ability to receive healthcare."
The clinics will ultimately deliver more than COVID-19 and flu testing and vaccines.
"Those clinics we'll have a complete one roof concept," Kazi said. "That means they will have their specialist consults right there through telemedicine, they will have their pharmacy and drug needs taken care of right there, they will have their x-rays and radiology also done under one single roof in their church space that we are taking."
The churches also benefit, by renting space in their buildings that will generate additional income.
"This will turn heads when we're successful and we will be successful. This will turn heads in the nation. This will be a project that everyone will look at," Lizotte said.
The goal is to have the first clinic open at a Dallas church by December.