JACKSON, Miss – For the first time four Jackson area health care institutions have collaborated to build a Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson home. The partnering institutions are Baptist Health Systems, St. Dominic Health Services, Inc., the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and Health Management Associates (HMA) hospitals (River Oaks Hospital, Madison River Oaks, Crossgates River Oaks, CMMC and Woman’s Hospital). The hospitals’ chief executives, along with hospital employees and students from UMMC, worked together on the project.
“As we all work to improve the health status of Mississippians, we are also interested in supporting and improving our community,” said Baptist Health Systems President and CEO Mark Slyter. “Partnering with these other local hospitals is a great way to emphasize our collective responsibility to support the community and building a Habitat home is one way to do this.”
“Taking care of people is what each of our institutions does on a daily basis, but we mostly do it in isolation from one another,” says Dr. James E. Keeton, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at UMMC, “The opportunity to work side-by-side to help our fellow man is pretty special. I think this will be a catalyst to help us find other ways to work together in the service of the greater Jackson community.”
“The project shows unity of purpose in the health care community,” says Claude W. Harbarger, President of St. Dominic Health Services. “We have all expressed a desire to collaborate on efforts to create a safer and healthier community and are excited to work together on this project to not only provide a home for a deserving family but demonstrate unity among caregivers.”
Todd Lupton, Jackson Market CEO with HMA noted, “We have the responsibility as a community to look after each other and to do the right thing. Building this house gives us a chance to come out from behind our desks and our hospital walls and meet a different kind of need. We were honored to participate.”
The new homeowner, Michelle Owens is no stranger to the Jackson health care industry. She is an LPN at Hinds Comprehensive Medical Center.
“Getting a Habitat home means peace of mind,” Owens explained. “There is a lot that comes with that – a feeling of security, being more comfortable, and a better sense of stability for my family. Now my kids and I have a home of our own, not just something we are renting.”
Like all Habitat homeowners, Owens joined in with the volunteers from the health care community to build her new home.