Chattanooga is mourning the loss of two beloved men and leaders in our community. At LifeSpring, we pause to honor them. We are grateful for their lives and their support and partnership in serving our community.
Chris Ramsey, a beloved Chattanooga native, known for his tireless effort to bridge the health care gap in minority communities passed away Saturday following a battle with COVID-19.
Ramsey has been a vocal advocate for our community and the work we do at LifeSpring Community Health. He has long been associated with the Minority Health Fair, which has grown into the area's largest health fair. In 2020, he spearheaded efforts to bring COVID-19 testing to underserved communities. Chris also provided a testimonial video during our #GivingTuesday campaign. We were blessed to know him and partner with him. We celebrate his life and grieve with his wife Lacreesha and their three children.
William R. “Bill” Painter, went home to be with the Lord on January 11, 2021 at the age of 84. He was a retired captain having served his country as a Master Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. For meritorious service during the 1964 Congolese uprisings, he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal rescuing and evacuating missionaries and wounded nationals. Bill served in Vietnam 1967-68 during the infamous “Tet Offensive” receiving many awards including the Combat Action Ribbon. After retirement from the United States Marine Corps, he came to Chattanooga and lived here ever since. Bill was a member of Grace Baptist Church where he participated in 40 short-term mission construction projects in more than 18 countries. LifeSpring's Johanna Hernandez said about Bill: "He had a heart for missions local and abroad and a heart for other people demonstrating God's love for everyone, young and old."
Free COVID-19 Testing @ 2507 McCallie Avenue
In moments like these leaders of organizations and churches who are striving to address racial inequities and outright racism, pick up their digital pens and issue a statement. I have read many of them. They inform, exhort, rally and eloquently commit to dismantling an over 400 year legacy of racism and oppression of Black people. However, as I sit poised to write, as a Black American woman of Afro-Caribbean descent, I am overwhelmed with heartache and have struggled to make a statement. The recurrence of deadly violence toward Black and Brown people in this country is a horrific violation of God’s law, and it’s deeply personal. It opens a wound that comes with being Black in America.
Together we have experienced the horror of watching Ahmaud Arbery being chased, cornered and shot to death by white men; the shock of learning about Breonna Taylor being killed in her own home at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect; and the terrible sickening feeling in the center of our chests at the cold-hearted disregard of a white police officer as he knelt on the neck of George Floyd until he died - almost nine minutes, ignoring his pleas, the pleas of the crowd, ignoring the image of God in a human being.
Yesterday I watched a video of a little Black girl fight through tears as she pleaded for racial equality. This is deeply personal. That experience of horror, shock and dismay unearthed a multitude of personal pain for so many African Americans who mentally prepare daily for the potential racial threat that can come without warning. Parents fear for their sons, wives for their husbands, children for their dads even if they are just going for a run, driving through a white neighborhood, visiting a friend in an affluent part of town. My heart hurts as I recall my 6’4” brother feeling marked as a threat when he walked down the street or into a store for no other reason than being a tall Black man. I feel plagued by the constant thought of what to say, how to dress, how to act to avoid being seen as a threat when I go for a walk and visit a predominantly white part of town. I am weary of working twice as hard and twice as long to gain respect and confidence in my intelligence and leadership as a Black woman in medicine.
As Executive Director, I feel the expectation is for me to give you the horrific statistics of racism, police brutality and how Black and Brown people disproportionately carry the burden of chronic illness and death. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed once again these disparities, as the percentage of Black deaths exceeds the percentage of African Americans in many communities. And in our own hometown, 67% of the cases of COVID-19 are Latino. Today I encourage you to do some research for yourself. Today I encourage you to ponder the pain of racism that African Americans have felt for generations and hear the cries of “I can’t breathe” that have been uttered for far too long. Consider the anxiety of young children who are learning to fear for their life because of the color of their skin. Today I ask you to search the scriptures for God’s views on oppression and what he calls us as the body of Christ to do. Today I ask you to love your neighbor as yourself. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (I Cor 13:1)
At LifeSpring, we mourn the unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many other Black and Brown people killed unjustly, whose names we may never know. We pray for their families that Jesus would comfort them in their loss. We stand against racism in all its forms, interpersonal, institutional and systemic; historic and generational; implicit bias and racial stereotyping; discriminatory practices in education, healthcare, housing, employment and economics. We condemn police brutality and the use of excessive force in our communities.
It has always been our mission to demonstrate the love of Christ by actively working to decrease racial and socioeconomic healthcare inequities by providing high-quality health care that addresses physical, spiritual and social needs. We will continue to stand with the Black and Brown families we serve as they weather health disparities illuminated by the pandemic and injustice in any form. We are committed to striving for the transformation of our community, body and soul. May we all be given the opportunity to reflect the beauty with which we were created. We hope you stand with us.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24)
Michele Pickett, MD
Don’t skip vaccines or checkups, or ignore concerns about your child’s health. Pediatricians are offering options like telehealth and have implemented strict safety measures. #CallYourPediatrician
LifeSpring Pediatrics wants to share with you the precautions that we have put in to place for you, our patients and families, in order to give you peace of mind. We will update our policies as needed based on the latest information as we receive it from the CDC, Hamilton County Health Department, and the City of Chattanooga until COVID-19 is under control. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in Chattanooga on 3/13/20.
These are the symptoms associated with COVID-19:
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days post-exposure
Mild to severe respiratory illness:
Pediatric patients present with mild symptoms:
These are the steps we are taking to be proactive:
Well Visits: There is currently no change in our scheduling of well visits. We will update you on any changes as they occur.
We know that it’s overwhelming out there with so much information flying back and forth but here is a trusted and reliable source for pediatric information. https://www.healthychildren.org/english/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus.aspx
We have some great news - we are moving to a new home! We are so excited to be at this threshold and know that we are only at this place because God continues to allow us to care for children and their families in Chattanooga. Over the past few years, we’ve learned that this is a huge endeavor; to demonstrate the love of Christ by providing quality health care for body and soul to those in need. Because of your generosity and prayers, we have been able to keep our doors open for the past 9 years, and the need for quality, compassionate care continues to grow. We have found that as our services expand, our current space is just too small to handle the volume of services we provide.
Please pray for us. Each week we move closer to opening the new space. Your support has allowed us to get to this exciting place and we would like to ask for continued prayers as we raise funds for daily operations and outfitting the new clinic space.
Thank you to our faithful volunteers, and you, our donors. Your support and encouragement allow us to continue to serve our community in this way. We hope that you will continue to join us in our mission to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by providing a pediatric clinic with exemplary medical staff and innovative services - embracing the whole child, serving their family, and transforming the health of our community.
We need help to furnish the place! If you, your family, or your church is interested in furnishing an entire exam room or space, please make a note on your donation. As always, you can donate online or send us a check to: 2507 McCallie Avenue
Cost of (1) Exam Room: $1,500
Overall Clinic Costs: $16,500
Overall Admin Costs: $10,000
By clicking the link below, you will find our wish list registry. Currently, our office has very used exam room and waiting room furniture that was passed down to us. We have carefully selected waiting room furniture, exam room furniture, and desks and chairs to match our space. It would be such a blessing to outfit our new space with new furniture!
LifeSpring Pediatrics has a FREE asthma program with FREE supplies for your child if he/she is a current LifeSpring patient. Call LifeSpring today at 423-624-4846 and ask to sign-up for the FREE program!
Did you know that 32.2% of children under the age of 18 in Chattanooga live below the poverty level? When we look at race, 15% of white children live in poverty, and the percentage worsens to 30.8% of African American and 37.4% of Hispanic children.
This is in Chattanooga! The Gig City, the Scenic City, the Best Town Ever.
The good news is that Jesus loves the poor and has called many individuals, churches, and organizations to respond to this disparity. They have stepped up to offer innovative resources to address this reality.
At LifeSpring, we stand alongside them on the front lines, addressing one of the biggest areas of inequity among the poor - healthcare. For seven years our doors on McCallie Ave have been open delivering compassionate, high-quality, and innovative pediatric care to children in Chattanooga. We are delighted to demonstrate the love of Jesus in this way to all the children and families we serve.
Sixty-five percent of the children we see have TennCare (Medicaid). These families still face many barriers to good health care even when TennCare gives them access to doctors. The lack of reliable transportation has been identified as the number one barrier to care for LifeSpring families.
Another 15% percent of LifeSpring patients have no insurance at all, making the high cost of seeing a doctor and getting regular check-ups a primary barrier to care for these families.
There are things that present as barriers to care that you may not immediately think are related to health disparities. These social determinants of health include many insecurities such as poor access to affordable and nutritious food, sustainable employment and working conditions, and a safe physical or social environment.
A significant percentage of children at LifeSpring are diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as obesity and asthma. Even with available resources, it can be difficult to manage chronic conditions and achieve a healthy lifestyle, but the challenge is multiplied when a family has no access to care or resources.
At LifeSpring, we are devoted to adapting our practice to address the barriers that prevent the children we serve from thriving and growing into healthy adults, body, and soul. Over the next few weeks, we will share how LifeSpring is working to do this and how families are impacted.
It is our great hope that you will partner with us as we seek to demonstrate God’s love for those in need. LifeSpring relies on the partnership of donors like you to care for the children who would otherwise not be able to afford healthcare. It is our goal to raise $50,000 by the end of 2018 to keep up with the influx of patients we are seeing! Your contribution of $175 would cover the average cost per child not covered by insurance. Would you consider giving a financial gift so that we can continue to provide medical care to some of the forgotten, uninsured children in our city?
Dr. Michele Pickett, M.D.