Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers: meeting physical and spiritual needs

May 2015 - Cover Story
by Deena C. Bouknight

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May 2015 - Cover Story

People have often told Dr. Stuart Hamilton that he “can’t” do something. More often than not, God has led him to realize that he can.

In 1993, after 10 years as a Columbia pediatrician primarily addressing the needs of poor patients, he sought an alternative structure to turn an unsustainable practice into a sustainable one. He strongly believed the biblical mandate to take care of the poor, Hamilton said.

Then one day, without any prompting, “We literally had a knock at the door (of the practice he started), and two people from Health and Human Services walked in unannounced. They said, ‘If we were you, we would set up a community health status and see poor people all day long and not go broke.’”

So that is what Dr. Hamilton and his colleagues did. After a yearlong, tedious application process, they were able to set up a not-for-profit community health center they called Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center. Although the center was originally intended to provide care for children, the pediatricians realized almost immediately that patients of all ages needed healthcare services. They hired a general practitioner under the organization’s umbrella and later added an obstetrician.

When the center required more space, Hamilton cold-called Sterling Sharpe, a receiver for the Green Bay Packers with ties to Columbia. With no experience in fund-raising and

Why did Christ die for you?   www.whyhedied.org

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