Health Care for Hispanics

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  When you think of missions, you might think of remote areas, but there is a lot of need right here in the United States. Immigrants are particularly hard-hit by language and social barriers and lack of basic services. One United Methodist ministry in St. Louis decided to reach out to those who are often misunderstood and overlooked.  
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Nat Sound: “Hola, Seňora Sanchez. Buenas tardes.”

This checkup is paramount for Theresa Sanchez. Her blood pressure is dangerously high.

Nat Sound: “We’re going to have to keep her here until her pressure gets below 120.”

Dr. David Moscowitz says Sanchez is typical of the patients he sees. The patients at La Clinica are mostly undocumented, uninsured and poor – people who have no place else to go for medical care. Here, they get full treatment at no charge.

The Rev. C. William Chignoli: “I know this is a very difficult ministry with a lot of needs.”

When the Rev. William Chignoli came to St. Louis in the early ’90s to start a United Methodist Church, he saw an immediate need in the community for medical care. He opened La Clinica first and figured the ministry would follow. He was right.

The Rev. William Chignoli: “After several months, they began to ask for a place for praying, to stay with us, for singing.”

Now this church on the corner helps almost 14,000 people a year in its full-time medical clinic, social service office and after-school programs.

Sanchez will have to try a new medication. Shortages of pills and supplies are daily hurdles for the volunteer doctors and nurses.

Dr. David Moskowitz: “This is basically like doing medicine in Africa.”

Still, Dr. David Moskowitz keeps coming back. He knows patients like Sanchez have no other options.


La Clinica doesn’t only serve the Hispanic community – in fact, in the past year, they have seen an increase in immigrants from places like Bosnia and Asian countries like Vietnam and Laos. In addition to basic medical care, they also have a staff of volunteer specialists that treat everything from dental problems to optometry, even psychology.