“One of our jobs is to love those we encounter.” This statement perfectly encapsulates the kind of work Holy Family Healthcare does for the communities they serve. As a Catholic organization whose medical practice is based on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, the organization actively reaches out to serve the most vulnerable populations such as migrant camps, homeless teen shelters, homes for unwed mothers, and schools.
Their roots can be traced to the initiative of a group of physicians who believed in caring not only for their patients’ physical health, but also for their emotional and spiritual needs within a relationship based on education and shared decision-making. This led to them to serve in Southwest Michigan in 2012 and eventually purchase a mobile medical clinic in 2014. Traveling throughout the region, they started to serve large numbers of the migrant agricultural Hispanic population by providing medical and dental care. They further expanded their services in 2015 by renovating a building that housed a pediatric practice and pediatric and adolescent counseling services. Today, Holy Family Healthcare not only provides standard medical services ranging from well-baby check-ups to vaccinations but also complementary alternative support such as intercessory prayer and stress reduction. Among the developments, they are particularly excited for are the brand new 3D/4D ultrasound they received from the Knights of Columbus for neonatal ultrasounds, and their ongoing scholarship program for migrant children in which they shoulder the tuition for a Catholic Education, along with the costs of transportation, uniforms, meals, and other needed support. They are currently based in Hartford, Michigan.
True to their commitment to building strong families, the organization started offering the FEMM program to communities within their reach this past year. They currently have three medical providers and are recruiting more. With six FEMM health educators on their team, they hope to expand their services to at least 2-3 educators per parish within the diocese.The program enables local educators and regional providers that can either conduct live sessions or meet patients via Telemedicine technology. The success of integrating the FEMM program into their healthcare system has now led to their interest to complement it with the Human Dignity Curriculum. “It (the HDC) naturally flows into the teenFemm and teenMen programs (at the developmentally appropriate time) as well as then into the FEMM program. If a man doesn’t learn the true value of a woman and the sanctity of all life, he’s simply adding to the problems of the world,” shared the staff.
As they now pursue a partnership to implement the HDC, they express their excitement in coming across a program that can help children from devastated families who are not otherwise exposed to anything that is beautiful, pure, and good. “There is so much violence and sex that invade the lives of children and families today” they said. “The HDC is a way to, in a structured way, introduce children and their parents into the Truth, beauty, and dignity of each individual (including themselves).” Holy Family Healthcare currently has one educator who is working to integrate the curriculum into their health care routine, particularly as part of their anticipatory guidance for children. Both of their teachers and medical professionals are trained to speak in English and Spanish. In embracing these programs, Holy Family Healthcare joins WYA in empowering and affirming the dignity of each human person. In their words, “There is no better way to love them than to teach them their true value and worth.”