Health Care, the Whole Person, and Community Engagement: Church Health Center of Memphis, Tennessee

​Sheehan A, Bisognano M, Waller R. Health Care, the Whole Person, and Community Engagement: Church Health Center of Memphis, Tennessee. Cambridge, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; October 2014.


Church Health Center in Memphis, Tennessee, is committed to encouraging healthy living for individuals as well as communities. Their work provides an inspiring example of a community that is working toward achieving the Triple Aim. Church Health Center is one of the stakeholder organizations in Healthy Shelby, a participant in IHI’s Triple Aim Improvement Community.

As the largest privately funded faith-based health care organization in the US, Church Health Center provides quality, affordable health care to the working uninsured of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee. The Center has 1,000 volunteer medical professionals and partners with most hospitals, labs, and diagnostic centers in the area to provide medical services to a low-income and often underserved patient base.

Their MEMPHIS Plan, an employer-sponsored health program designed to serve uninsured workers, extends care and access to affordable services to thousands of Memphis residents. All Plan physicians donate their services, and small businesses and self-employed individuals are also eligible to participate.

Medical care is augmented by Church Health Center Wellness, which provides fitness classes, nutritional education, counseling, and other services. Their community-based approach to wellness — with a focus on promoting health outside the medical system — has demonstrated fewer hospital readmissions, shorter lengths of stay, and reduced costs, among other improvements.

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