The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center                                                        Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
AFL Grantees
Blue Shield of California
Church Health
Council on Aging
Greater Detroit
Jewish Council for the Aging
The Oasis Institute
San Mateo
YMCA of Met. Chicago

Church Health  CenterChurch Health Center of Memphis Inc.

Active for Life Program contact:

Jenny Bartlett-Prescott

The Church Health Center (CHC) is a faith-based community health ministry (located in Memphis, Tennessee) which was founded in 1987 by G. Scott Morris, M.D., M.Div., who is both a family practitioner and a minister. The Center’s mission is to provide affordable, high quality health care to uninsured workers, their families, the elderly and the homeless and to promote healthy bodies and spirits for all. Primary care (as well as dentistry, optometry, counseling and social services) is provided at the Church Health Center Clinic, with over 28,000 visits in year 2003. MEMPHIS Plan, a health care program offered by the Church Health Center, is staffed by volunteer physicians and provides low-cost healthcare coverage for small businesses and their employees.

The Church Health Center will collaborate on the Active Choices program with two community service partners: Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association and New Pathways Community Development Corporation. The former operates senior centers and delivers meals to large, congregate meal sites in apartment buildings operated by the Memphis Housing Authority. The latter focuses on community development issues in the poorest inner city area of Memphis. These two organizations will help ensure that the Active Choices program is able to involve a diverse cross-section of Memphis residents.

"As a faith-based ministry providing health care for the under-served, we encourage our participants to use all their gifts of body, mind and spirit to become more physically active,” comments Mia Earl-Clemmons, former Active for Life program coordinator.

“We find that the telephone counseling is particularly valued by our 50-plus population in terms of building relationships and using the faith or spiritual connection to motivate participants to improve health. Our quarterly booster sessions have also been popular with our participants, allowing them to reconvene face-to-face, bond together in their efforts and reinforce their physical activity at home. Working in years two to four with the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association and the New Pathways Community Development Corporation, we plan to extend our reach to engage even more under-served Memphians over age 50 to 'get moving' and improve overall health.”

One program participant reports that she garners "courage" from becoming physically active and looks forward to receiving her follow-up phone counseling. She is breathing better and has decreased pain in her left shoulder. Another reports that the increase in awareness of needing to become more physically active has been a "blessing" and that her exercise sessions also provide a time for focusing her spirit and meditation to manage stress.

The Center encourages people to get and stay healthy - in body and spirit - at the Hope & Healing ministry, the Church Health Center's state-of-the-art 80,000 square foot wellness facility. Over 5,200 members joined Hope & Healing in year 2003, and approximately 10,000 members and non-members flow through the Center per month (as access for safe walking for all, as well as outreach-level health education classes). Faith Community Ministries is the Center's outreach to faith communities and has relationships with over 300 congregations who support our efforts and with whom the Center partners as a means of spreading our health care and health promotion messages in the Memphis area. In 2003, CHC's Hope & Healing ministry received Secretary Tommy G. Thompson's award for "Innovations in Prevention" as an exemplary faith-based organization.

Grantee Contact Info

Church Health Center
Hope & Healing
1115 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: 901-259-4673

Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: