IBJNews

2012 Health Care Heroes: Gennesaret Free Clinics

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Health Care HeroesWINNER: Community Achievement in Health Care

Gennesaret Free Clinics

James A. Trippi, M.D., Founder & Board President


The debut of Gennesaret Free Clinics, which provides free health care to the homeless and uninsured population, was less than stellar. The three volunteers who comprised the medical team faced a tough audience.

“At first everyone looked at us like we were Dr. Frankenstein and we were going to be experimenting on them,” said Founder James Trippi, M.D., a cardiologist with The Care Group at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital.

“We stood there for half-an-hour until one man finally came forward. We had to examine him on the floor while we were on our hands and knees. It was very humbling for everybody.”
 

GennesaretJamesTrippi_CommWinner.jpg James A. Trippi, M.D. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

That was in 1988. Today, more patients are waiting in line than the organization can accommodate, despite now offering medical services in nine locations. The organization has expanded its services to include dental care, respite housing, vision care, social work services, medications and medical supplies, and screenings and preventive services, such as early detection for breast and cervical cancer. A few of its clinics have been spun off and are now operated by local churches.

A staff of 14, most of whom are engaged in providing direct patient care, and nearly 230 volunteers—physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists and non-medical volunteers—make it all happen. Many volunteers have been with the organization for years.

Amy King, a radiation technologist with the VA Hospital, volunteered for a monthly rotation in Gennesaret’s mobile unit for five years, later serving as a substitute. “I think the organization is amazing,” she said. “They do everything they can to walk side-by-side the people to get them out on their own again.”

Gennesaret (pronounced jen-NES-sah-ret) comes from the Book of Mark in the New Testament. It refers to the area by the Sea of Galilee where Christ healed the sick. In 1988 the clinic recorded 2,000 patient visits. Now that number is more than 12,000.

Part of Gennesaret’s success is its decentralized approach to delivering health care. It opens clinics in homeless shelters and food pantries and takes health care services directly to patients in a recreational vehicle that operates as a mobile clinic. “They reach a neglected population that is really benefiting from their work,” said Jim Nation, executive director and co-founder of the Peace Learning Center. “Jim’s done so much for the community, but so many people don’t know about the work he’s done.”

According to Trippi, the entire Indianapolis community benefits. He cites the high incidence of HIV, tuberculosis and advanced chronic diseases among the homeless populations in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

“We don’t have that here,” he said. “It’s because we see these patients frequently and we do preventive health screenings. We catch things early. It’s really important for the health of the community as a whole to keep these folks healthy, because six months from now they will be in your schools, in your churches and in your neighborhood,” he added, referring to the transient nature of the populations Gennesaret serves.

One challenge the organization faces is the misconception that health care reform will render the clinics’ services redundant. “Unfortunately health care reform doesn’t provide dental care,” Trippi said. “It doesn’t provide housing for people after hospitalization. It doesn’t provide health care to people who don’t have an address.”

Gennesaret’s Health Recovery Program, launched in 2000, provides transitional housing to men after major surgery or medical illness. Onsite caregivers in two homes on Central Avenue assist patients’ recovery, and additional services are in place to assist them in finding employment after they recover. “We are still the only organization in the State of Indiana that provides medical respite for homeless men coming from the hospital,” said Rebecca Seifert, executive director. Gennesaret is considering a similar program for homeless women.

Also on the drawing board: working with hospitals to help them treat Genneserat’s clients more effectively and at a lower cost, and figuring out a way to supply clients with durable medical supplies, such as hospital beds and wheelchairs.

None of that will happen unless the organization can pull in the approximately $1.3 million it takes to run the organization each year. Funding comes from thousands of individual donors, a bevy of grants, fundraising events and a trickle of government dollars. “It’s hard work to raise that much money every year,” Trippi said. “Just when I think we are going to have to start laying people off, miraculously the budget gets taken care of. Thank God there are really generous people who have been there for us every year.”

Trippi is amazed at how the organization has grown over the years. “When we started, it was a work of the soul,” he said. “We just wanted to do something to help out.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!

ADVERTISEMENT