"We recognize that ending racism will not happen overnight."
When I founded The Good Samaritan Health Center 22 years ago, it was because, as a young pediatrician, I could see that not all children had access to quality healthcare. The disparities, which clearly fell along racial lines, compelled me to leave my private practice in Sandy Springs to open a charitable clinic in the heart of Atlanta. While some progress has been made over the years towards health equity in our City, I am reminded that the numerous crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic downturn, and racial injustice still disproportionately impact the black community today. As a clinic employing a diverse staff and serving a diverse population, we see these struggles firsthand as we seek to fulfill our mission of Spreading Christ's Love Through Quality Healthcare to those in Need.
In the Biblical scriptures, we have numerous examples of how God's people, at their best, responded to suffering and trauma. Jewish leaders would tear their clothes, which was a sign of mourning and grief. Further, they might shave their head, throw dust on themselves, or wear sackcloth. These gestures were demonstrations of humility and lament, a signal to the entire community that something was deeply broken and needed God's swift healing power. In our modern times, we have different rituals. We repent and ask forgiveness for how we have actively or passively contributed to racism and inequity. We cry out to God in prayer and petition for the concerns of our neighbors. We sit with patients and hold their concerns in our own hearts as we counsel them. Finally, we take action by adding additional services for our community, believing in a day when one's life expectancy is not dictated by their ZIP code.
We recognize that ending racism will not happen overnight and requires an ongoing commitment to change. We commit to listening to our patients, our community, and our staff in response to racial injustice. We are resolute in our commitment to loving our patients, providing accessible, quality health care, and upholding the dignity of all people. This requires us to confront racism and inequity in this country, letting scripture guide us: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Dr. Bill Warren