The National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s annual conference was held in Washington, D.C. last week. Several of our staff attended the conference to gather and share ideas, strategies, and resources for providing the best possible quality of care for those experiencing homelessness. Our very own Dr. Janelle Goetcheus and Mary Jordan were honored at the conference.
Philip W. Brickner National Leadership Award
Dr. Janelle Goetcheus, Christ House Co-Founder and Medical Director, received the Philip W. Brickner National Leadership Award. This award recognizes individuals who have significantly strengthened service and/or advocacy that addresses the health status of people without homes. As the only one bestowed by the Board of Directors of the National HCH Council, it is the Council’s most prestigious award.
Read the nomination letter submitted by the Kairos Program Leadership Board:
First of all, Dr. Goetcheus is a fierce advocate for the homeless. She will stop at nothing to reach the most vulnerable, most addicted, and those with the most dire medical needs. She may appear meek and small in stature, but there is no street, alley, or drug-infested neighborhood she will not enter in order to reach those with serious medical problems that need immediate attention. While many medical professionals have their patients come to them, Dr. Goetcheus goes into the trenches to find the most vulnerable. It is no wonder the people closest to her have called her “The Mother Teresa of Washington.” Read more.
In 1979, Dr. Goetcheus founded Columbia Road Health Services, a community health center that serves the poor and uninsured of D.C. In 1985, she co-founded Christ House as a live-in respite care facility for up to 34 sick patients without homes. Dr. Goetcheus is also Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at Unity Health Care, Inc. in Washington, D.C. Unity is currently the largest primary health care agency in the area and sees over 100,000 patients per year. Unity has a network of 29 health centers and a mobile medical outreach vehicle, which are strategically located within all eight wards of Washington, D.C.
Local Hero Award for Distinguished Service
Mary Jordan, Christ House Clinical Director, received the Local Hero Award for Distinguished Service. Mary began as a nurse at Christ House in 1985 and has served faithfully on our medical team ever since. Mary is known by staff and patients alike to put her heart and soul into everything she does for the most vulnerable. Christ House would not be the same without her leadership.
Read an excerpt from Mary’s nomination letter, written by one of her former patients:
I was homeless and ill with COPD when I was admitted as a patient at Christ House. Mary advocated for me for months until I got what I needed. She took me in, as she does for everyone, and made me feel like a real person—not like a piece of trash that has been thrown away. For Mary, there is no one too dirty, sick, homeless or poor.
Mary is a person of strength, love and compassion. She cares for everyone and will take you off of the street and treat you like a mother caring for her own sick child. She cares for and nurses you back to health so that you can be placed back into society and able to live on your own.
If we had more places like Christ House, there would be less sick and homeless people. Mary took time for me personally and reassured me that things would be ok. She is a great person and a blessing to all! She is a strong lady and won’t take no for an answer. She gets the job done. Mary Jordan is a great person to have in your corner.