Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus
By Dr. Brian Crump
Dental Impact - October 2013
Have you ever had a toothache? I’m not talking about the temporary pain you may experience if you bite into that giant ice cream cone, but I mean a real, serious, throbbing, constant, keep-you-up-at-night type of toothache. For most of us, we are fortunate that this type of pain has never occurred, and if our loved ones experience this scenario, as dental professionals, we have the ability or connections to take care of the problem.
However, not everybody has this luxury, and the sad reality is there are countless individuals who have to live day-in and day-out with this type of toothache. Such is the life of about 91 percent of the more than 8,000 uninsured or underinsured patients we see at Lower Lights Christian Health Center (LLCHC) in the neighborhood of Franklinton in Columbus, Ohio.
Because Franklinton has the highest poverty rates in all of Franklin County, the result was poor health outcomes with little-to-no access to primary healthcare for the residents of this community. The establishment of LLCHC in 2002 provided access to quality integrated healthcare services, allowing these impoverished residents to receive access to hope and healing. God is doing a mighty work at LLCHC to restore His kingdom!
Seeing this incredible need among our patients has prompted us to add dental services to our medical, behavioral health and spiritual care services. Providing access to dental care for our medically fragile population offers one more necessary resource for whole-person care and significantly furthers our mission.
When reflecting upon our patients’ situations, many pieces of scripture come to mind, but Proverbs 14:31 constantly reminds me that “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (NIV 2011). As Christians, isn’t that what it’s all about—bringing honor and glory to Jesus Christ, our Creator, our Sustainer? I am challenged to be constantly reminded of the condition of my own soul and remain convicted that without Christ, I am nothing. Christ intervened to meet my need, and I believe it’s our responsibility to emulate Christ in this manner by helping others.
I am humbled to be granted the opportunity to serve as Dental Director here at Lower Lights and oversee the startup of the dental clinic. Undoubtedly, there are many health centers that do great work in their communities, but what drew me to LLCHC was the mission of having a Christ-centered approach to not only patient care, but also creating a similar atmosphere among colleagues.
Lower Lights Christian Health Center is a faith-based nonprofit community health center whose mission is to minister the love of Christ as a model full-service medical home, focused on whole-person wellness, available to all in Central Ohio who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. If you would like to know more about them, contact Director of Development Trudy Wilson at email@example.com, Dr. Brian Crump at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.llchc.org.