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Meet Scott Morris

Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Morris.

Hi Scott, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers.
I grew up in Atlanta where I was always interested in the Church, but the thought of preaching 52 sermons a year sent shivers down my spine and still does. But I read the Bible and realized that 1/3 of the Bible has to do with healing the sick. It’s on every page. So I set out to find a way I could professionally be involved in a healing ministry.

I went to college a nd then seminary, and then one day was in the Chaplain’s office of the Yale Medical School where I saw a pamphlet entitled “How to Start a Church-Based Health Clinic”, and I said, “That’s it. That’s what I want to do.”

I went to medical school and did a residency to become a family physician. I then read that Memphis was the poorest major city in America, which led me to say “I’m going to Memphis”. That was in 1985. It took a year, but on September 1, 1987, Church Health opened to provide quality affordable health care for the working uninsured without relying on government funding.

We treated 12 patients on our first day. There are now 80,000 people in Memphis who depend on Church Health for their health care. We are the largest, faith-based privately funded health clinic in the country.

We decided in 2011 to help lead the renovation of what is now Crosstown Concourse, we are the anchor tenant. We have 150,000 square feet and run medical, dental, behavioral health, and eye clinics along with a teaching kitchen and partnering with the YMCA for our wellness center. There are aseveralother programs that live under our umbrella.

We are a true charity. We have a budget of $27 Million a year and employ around 250 people. Through the generosity of physicians and many other healthcare providers and the generosity of our hospitals, we can provide the same quality of care you would expect for your mother for any health problem someone might have. It is what is often referred to as Church Health Magic, but it isn’t magic, it happens when people decide to do the right thing in caring for their neighbors.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is never a smooth road when you set our to do something on the scale of Church Health.

There have been political hurdles, the challenge of convincing people that renovating Crosstown wasn’t a fool’s dream, and then we must raise a lot of money year after year after year. But for 36 years it has worked and we will continue to succeed.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I wear two hats, I am both a family practice physician and a United Methodist Minister. I spend most of my time playing doctor but I think of myself as a pastor who acquired a particular skill. I am also charged with helping us tell the story to thousands of people and then asking them to financially support our work.

I never tire of it because every day I am graced with getting to help care for people who financially have very little but who have come to see the beauty in life despite the overwhelming challenges they are faced with. They help me see how to face such struggles yet come out believing that life is good and God’s presence is always with us. Without the chance of being with them, I am not sure I could come to the same conclusion on my own.

I am proud that Church Health is now an institution in Memphis that will exist long after I am gone.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
We are always looking to find people who believe in our mission which is to engage the faith community to care for the health needs of people who work in low-wage jobs but who don’t have health insurance.

There are lots of ways anyone can get involved. We always need physicians and health care volunteers, but people can get involved with us as volunteers in a variety of ways. See our website

We of course need financial donations but we believe that by getting involved with us people will improve their health by experiencing more joy, more love, and being drawn closer to God and those things that are greater than we are. Give it a try and see if it is what you experience.


  • Church Health is not a free clinic, we charge on a sliding scale. Most pay $20 to $40 for a visit. Poor people aren’t looking for a hand out they are looking for something they can afford.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Instagram: @drscottmorris and @churchhealthmemphis
  • Facebook: Scott Morris and Church Health

Image Credits
Church Health Center

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