Skip to content

After a whirlwind morning and afternoon bouncing around the Greater New Orleans Parish, I finished the day off at Luke’s House Clinic in Central City. Since Katrina, Luke’s House has delivered healthcare to the medically underserved every Tuesday. evening.

In March 2015, six medical students in Geisel's Urban Health Scholars program went to New Orleans for spring break to experience and learn about the city's challenging and distinct health care delivery system. They are sharing their experiences in several posts here on the Geisel Med Blog. You can find all their posts here.

Luke’s House: A Clinic for Healing and Hope

By: T.J. Meehan '18

After a whirlwind morning and afternoon bouncing around the Greater New Orleans Parish, I finished the day off at Luke’s House Clinic in Central City. Luke’s House opened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when the medical services of the city were severely compromised and the numbers of those who found themselves homeless and uninsured skyrocketed. Along with dozens of other new make-shift community health-based clinics, Luke’s House was an attempt to rebuild the city’s medical safety net.

UHS-Nola-8Since Katrina, Luke’s House has delivered healthcare to the medically underserved every Tuesday evening. The clinic is staffed by a steady stream of local volunteers from Rayne United Methodist Church, Mount Zion United Methodist Church, and the LSU Department of Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program. Since Katrina, Luke’s House has continued to open its doors one night a week and on the first Thursday of every month. An average of 15-20 patients are seen in the two hours it is open on clinic nights. The medical staff sees patients suffering from chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, conducts pre-employment physicals for the unemployed, and provides care for patients with more complicated health issues. In addition, Luke’s House is home to the local legend, Dr. Robert Lancaster (known as Dr. Bob), the city’s only no-fee psychiatrist. His work truly is extraordinary given Louisiana’s cuts in mental health funding, and its elevated prevalence of suicide.

In my time in the clinic, I assisted with patient check-ins and check-outs, and basic history taking. Although these may seem like trivial tasks, while doing these I had a great time at the clinic. It was obvious that every patient that came in during my time there was thankful for the services that Luke’s House is providing. Not only is the care free, but patients’ experience of care is also pretty good. There was minimal wait time, a volunteer Spanish translator helped Spanish-speaking patients throughout their visits, medical and mental health were integrated, and overall everyone in the staff appeared bright and excited to help. I felt like the care that I observed was the type of care that I would want to receive, which really made me happy because I understand how easy it can be for providers in under-resourced clinics to burn-out and appear defeated. I learned a lot in my one day at Luke’ House, but I think the one thing that will stick with me the most from this visit is the impact of having an upbeat attitude. The staff of Luke’s House is simply special. They radiate positive energy and optimism, and made me want to express a similar passion when I eventually have patients of my own.

The Urban Health Scholars visited Project Fleur de Lis, a non-profit organization that brings mental health services to schools.

In March 2015, six medical students in Geisel's Urban Health Scholars program went to New Orleans for spring break to experience and learn about the city's challenging and distinct health care delivery system. They are sharing their experiences in several posts here on the Geisel Med Blog. You can find all their posts here.

Project Fleur de Lis

By: Fernando Vazquez '18

The Urban Health Scholars visited Project Fleur de Lis, a non-profit organization that brings mental health services to schools. The small team of five social workers manages to accomplish impressive feats by using a screener developed at UCLA. The screener is designed to identify relative risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. If a child scores within a particular range, a note is sent home to notify parents of the free services available to their child. One-on-one sessions with a social worker from Project Fleur de Lis are reserved for children with more significant needs, while group sessions are used to work out issues between peers as well as to provide a safe space to socialize with individuals going through similar situations.

UHS-Nola-7Due to the organization's small size, Project Fleur de Lis can only work with eight schools at a time. Despite this limitation, the team of social workers is quite impactful. If a child needs more profound, long-term care, they are referred to a psychiatrist to be seen free of charge. Any necessary prescriptions are also paid for in full. Project Fleur de Lis has been so successful in diminishing the taboo the dominates mental health elsewhere, that they are expanding their efforts to include training teachers and health care professionals to screen their students and patients for traumatic events in place of attributing misbehavior to faults in character.

It was quite inspiring to see such a small group take on this tremendous task so effectively and competently.