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HH HOMEGROWN HEROES

What began in a low-income apartment complex as a medical outreach to serve an impoverished community has grown into GOOD SAMARITAN HEALTH SERVICES and its 13 mobile sites that host 54 clinics a month and serve over 7,000 people a year. BY GINA CONROY || PHOTOS BY SARAH ELIZA ROBERTS Some might say Dr. John Crouch, founder and president of Good Samaritan Health Services (GSHS), is the epitome of a good Samaritan with the way he’s devoted his life to bringing free medical care to the underserved people of Tulsa. Yet, if you asked Crouch, he’d tell you, it is Jesus, not he, that deserves that title. “People come to Good Samaritan Health Services to see our doctors, and our heart is for our patients to find the true healer and good Samaritan, Jesus Christ,” says Crouch. “We realize the name Good Samaritan is a double entendre, and if people want to think of us as nice guys helping strangers in need, that’s OK.” For 20 years, GSHS has been devoted to caring for the whole person, not just treating their physical ailments but caring for their emotional and spiritual health as well. What began in a low-income apartment complex as a

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medical outreach to serve an impoverished community not getting adequate health care because they couldn’t afford insurance and didn’t qualify for government programs has grown into 13 mobile sites holding 54 clinics a month and serving over 7,000 people a year. The impetus for GSHS was when Crouch realized many patients they saw in the ER were extremely sick because they had delayed health care.

in an empty apartment in an underserved area and saw patients once a month. The clinic became so popular, they ended up seeing patients two times a month. Soon, that grew into a weekly clinic with the support of a local church that provided a compassion ministry to the patients, helping them with food, clothing and other needs. News spread, and other needy communities asked GSHS to hold clinics in their neighborhoods.

“We needed to do clinical work for the impoverished before they got so sick they had to go to the hospital,” says Crouch. To do that, they needed to take away the problem of transportation. To combat this crisis, they opted to take the medical care to people.

Crouch knew that to serve other communities, they needed to become mobile. They entertained different options, until Crouch heard of a man willing to do health care for the underserved. His one caveat was it needed to be done from a Christian basis.

Partnering with Cornerstone Assistance Network, a Christian network of churches, ministries and other agencies, the first medical clinic began

“That described us perfectly,” says Crouch. After applying for a van in 1999, the 35-foot long Little Sam outfitted with two mini treatment rooms and

nurses’ station hit the road and began serving two new sites. In less than 10 years, they had seven sites with 8 to 10 church partners and lots of wear and tear on their van. With a matching grant, they outfitted a 63-foot Big Sam with three exam rooms, a lab station and medicine dispensary which enabled them to expand to 11 sites. In 2009, they noticed women weren’t having mammograms or pap smears, so they offered a free women’s clinic once a quarter. “We were taking care of women who hadn’t had health care in [sometimes] 12 to 17 years,” says Crouch. Working with Oklahoma Project Woman, GSHS gave vouchers for women needing mammograms. With the help of their breast health navigator nurse, women were able to find transportation and help with abnormality follow-ups. In 2010, GSHS went into women’s prisons.

June 2018 (Vol. 32, No. 6)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...

June 2018 (Vol. 32, No. 6)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...