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Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood is just five miles southwest of the Loop, the heart of downtown, where despite a bad economy, buildings continue to rise. Glass and steel glitter alongside Lake Michigan’s sparkling blue water. While the city’s skyscrapers are visible from Lawndale, the only things that glitter here are the bits of broken glass that line the curbs on the street.

In this neighborhood, Lawndale Christian Health Center shares the love of Jesus by providing health care services at a decent price. But this isn’t just a clinic in a poor neighborhood. The facility offers internal medicine care, obstetrics, family medicine, pediatric care and a pharmacy, as well as dental care, behavioral health services and substance abuse treatment. Across four locations in Lawndale and the surrounding neighborhoods, the health center received patients in nearly 250,000 visits in 2009.

The neighborhood’s needs are distinct, and Lawndale has tailored its services to those needs. And it continues to work to maintain its Christian mission and identity as it grows and matures as an organization.

“We could be an urgent care center and maybe we would see more people,” said Dr. Wayne Detmer, medical director of operations. “But Lawndale seeks to build relationships with its patients rather than churn through them. Especially in primary care, we need to focus on valuing relationships.”

Read the full article at Duke Divinity School’s Faith and Leadership magazine.

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