CHHC seeking volunteer physicians

Community of Hope Health Clinic executive director, Chris Monceret, addressed volunteers and supporters at the CHHC annual spring breakfast on April 25 at the Ashbury United Methodist Church. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Community of Hope Health Clinic executive director, Chris Monceret, addressed volunteers and supporters at the CHHC annual spring breakfast on April 25 at the Ashbury United Methodist Church. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—Since 2008, the Community of Hope Health Clinic has served as a medical mission, offering free, quality health care to the medically uninsured whose household income is “at or below 200% of the poverty level.”

With 12% of the population of Shelby County uninsured, the mission of the almost entirely volunteer-run CHHC is more important than ever.

“There are a lot of people who work, but have lost their insurance at no fault of their own,” executive director Chris Monceret said at the annual CHHC Spring Breakfast at the Ashbury United Methodist Church on April 25.

Each year, CHHC serves more than 2,000 patients, said treasurer Stephen Stroud, and this number will rise as the CHHC expands to meet the community’s needs.

CHHC opened 2014 by adding a new day to the hours of operation. The clinic now operates out of a 2,000-foot-space in the Shelby County Health Department facility in Pelham on Monday and Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings.

“I’ve seen it grow leaps and bounds (since I started),” Dr. Lisa Oestreich, UAB neurologist and CHHC volunteer physician, said.

“I think we’ve been really smart with expansion,” Monceret said, adding the goal for 2014 is to “recruit physicians.”

Monceret emphasized volunteering with CHHC is a way to do mission work without leaving the comfort of your home.

“You don’t have to go out of the country or out of the state,” Monceret said. “You can do mission work right here in Shelby County.”

“It’s an easy way to serve people that are really in need,” Dr. Mark Wilson, Jefferson County health officer, CEO of the Jefferson County Department of Health and volunteer physician at CHHC said.

CHHC has a flexible schedule, allowing volunteer doctors to work as little or as much as desired. Additionally, it has malpractice coverage, giving retired physicians an opportunity to practice medicine and help their neighbors, Wilson said.

“It’s a pleasure to be there, the people I work with are just genuine good people,” Oestreich said. “It really restores my faith in medicine, it’s what medicine is all about.”

For more information about the clinic and volunteer opportunities, visit Communityofhopeclinic.com.