Ten Years after Katrina, there is much to be said about the storm, about the broken levies, and about the nation's response to the catastrophes. As we have to so many natural disasters and to issues of injustice, Middle Church, you responded. You traveled to NOLA, you tore down moldy walls, you helped to organize communities. You sang and offered hope. You sent financial support.
What are your memories of our mission to NOLA, and what are you thinking now? Please share photos, momentos, thoughts and prayers at facebook and/or twitter.
Hello Dear Friends and Allies,
At the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I wanted to take the opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you for your commitment of time, talent or treasure to the people of the Greater New Orleans area by supporting the efforts of the Lower 9thWard Health Clinic. I am deeply honored to have been the executive director and able to provide health care services to more than 2,300 patients during our time of operation. We not only cared for patients and their families, but were vocal advocates to our governmental entities requesting more health care services. Through your generosity, we stabilized and transformed the clinic into a wonderful “medical home” with paid staff positions, purchased patient medications, contracted services for laboratory tests, and bought medical supplies and equipment. We received undisputable confirmation that we were in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing when the first patient that entered the door of the clinic was so ill that she was transported via ambulance to the emergency room.
Your support allowed us to go outside of walls of the clinic to perform badly needed outreach services because many of the residents were extremely traumatized and did not seek medical care until they were critically ill. We utilized medical students and clinic staff to span out into the community to perform mini health assessments and encourage residents to take advantage of free medical care. This was an extremely effective effort that resulted in residents in the surrounding neighborhood obtaining medical care.
Our mission was grounded in the belief that health care is a human right. Consequently, we provided direct testimony and held listening sessions for representatives from the United Nations representatives on internally displaced people. These testimonies in connection with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were used to hold our government accountable for providing funding for access to free and low cost health care services.
Our overarching clinical goal was prevention of premature deaths and avoidance of unnecessary disabilities due to chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. I am happy to say we accomplished that goal with validated data. We utilized and embraced a model of care that was patient centered, coordinated, and provided a conduit to a continuum of health care services. We were patient navigators who empowered our patients to effectively care for themselves through highly individualized patient education, consistent medical follow-up, preventive screenings, and a unique aftercare program.
Our clinic implemented programs that promoted best practices in disease management among high risk, underserved populations and instituted extremely innovative therapies. It is my belief that we were doing such a great work that it prompted those in powerful positions to visit the clinic including then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with members of Congress, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Michael Leavitt and many others.
But none of this would have taken place with you. Because of you we have a healthier more resilient community. Your faith in me as a leader was deeply appreciated. Your contribution personified love in action. Because of you, I was able to serve and realize my personal, professional and most of all spiritual goals of caring for the people of Greater New Orleans. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Alice Craft-Kerney, RN, BSN
Former Executive Director
Lower 9th Ward Health Clinic