"In 1965, as part of the War on Poverty, the Office of Economic Opportunity approved a $1.3 million dollar grant to fund the development of the first two community health centers in the United States, The Tufts-Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and the Columbia Point Health Center in Boston, which pioneered a health care delivery system that now includes more than 1,200 community centers in every U.S. state, providing care to over 24 million Americans annually. The architect of these centers was Dr. H. Jack Geiger, now known as the father of community medicine, who conceived of this program in 1964 along with members of the Medical Committee on Human Rights, a group of physicians active in the civil rights movement. Drawing on his experience in South Africa, where he had apprenticed under Dr. Sidney Kark, who had developed community-based health centers in African townships, Geiger proposed a similar program for the poor in the U.S. An advocate of the "social determinants of health," Geiger created a center in Mississippi that did more than just provide clinical services, but developed innovative programs in nutrition, education, and environmental services, in an attempt to deal with the question of "What does it take to be healthy and stay healthy, not just get healthy?" Out in the Rural also deals with the opposition that the center faced, from both state officials and members of the local population, providing insights into both race and class relations in Mississippi during the final years of the civil rights era. Finally, by examining the legacy of the Tufts-Delta Health Center, Out in the Rural provides a reevaluation of the War on Poverty a half-century after its inception"-- Provided by publisher.
'Out in the Rural' is the unlikely story of the Tufts-Delta Health Center, which in 1966 opened in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, to become the first rural community health center in the United States. Its goal was simple: to provide health care and outreach to the region's thousands of rural poor, most of them black sharecroppers who had lived without any medical resources for generations. In 'Out in the Rural', historian Thomas J. Ward explores the health center's story alongside the remarkable life of its founder, Dr. H. Jack Geiger. A former teenage runaway, through a serendipitous turn of events he was befriended and taken in by the actor and Harlem Renaissance icon Canada Lee. Lee would later loan Geiger money for college, and after stints as a journalist and Merchant Marine, Geiger attended medical school and became a physician. Geiger's personal history brings a profound human element to what was accomplished deep in the Mississippi Delta. In addition to providing medical care, the staff of the Tufts-Delta Health Center worked upstream to address the fundamental determinants of health-factors such as education, poverty, nutrition, and the environment-and ask the question, "What does it take to stay healthy?" Equal parts social history and personal history, 'Out in the Rural' is a story of both community health and of a stranger's kindness and determination to bring health care to areas out of reach"-- Provided by publisher.