17 February 2006

interview with dr. cheri leblanc

this week i interviewed a great lady in our church who heads up one of the most exciting ministries i can think of. this weekend we're going to dedicate our new mobile medical clinic - a bunch of miracles waiting to happen.

(dr. cheri is in the middle in the back.)

dr. cheri leblanc is an internal medicine specialist in the baton rouge area. she and her family have been a part of healing place church since 1999. she started the healing hands ministry of hpc in 2001 and has served passionately and faithfully to help bring healing to hurting people. she has curtailed her own practice to the point that she only works there in the mornings and she spends the rest of her time volunteering to work in the mobile clinic.

q: where did the idea for the mobile clinic come from?

dr. cheri: about three years ago, God gave me this as a dream. the dream was to be able to provide medical help to people in a variety of areas who were otherwise unable to get the help they needed. donaldsonville, the inner city of baton rouge, gonzales, and places like that. a mobile clinic is the way to do it. we (the healing hands team at hpc) began praying for it. we had never seen this done before, but at an hpc leaders retreat in hammond, claudia berry encouraged me to “pray and ask God for a vision for the ministry of healing hands.” we began praying not just for a mobile clinic, but for a clear vision of what God wanted to do with healing hands. and God answered those prayers. it has now been one year this month (february) that we’ve been operating a free medical clinic from the donaldsonville dream center. and the mobile clinic is now coming online.

q: tell us more about the clinic in the donaldsonville dream center.

dr. cheri: we were blessed to find a space in the dream center. it was just an old electrical closet, but some volunteers worked hard and very creatively to turn the closet into a clinic room. we’ve been there on location every other week, visiting anywhere from 10-20 patients every time.

q: what kind of medical care are you able to provide at the dream center clinic (and now in the mobile clinic)?

dr. cheri: we become their family doctor. we can do everything from check-ups to ekg’s, strep cultures to diabetes testing, and even x-rays and mammograms on some occasions.

q: that sounds like it requires quite a setup. how were we able to obtain a mobile clinic with that kind of setup?

dr. cheri: in the aftermath of hurricane katrina, i was honored to work closely with prc compassion, and in serving there, i met doctors and medical professionals from all over the country. the connection these people felt to the need here was strong, and when i shared with them our vision for a mobile clinic, they fell in love with the idea. so much so that when one group went back to california to their home churches, they were able to muster a lot of support for the clinic. their churches wanted to help with the relief effort, but they wanted to have a specific connection point. through the relationship with these medical professionals, the mobile clinic was how they decided to invest their help. but even with all their generous help, we still needed more funding. that’s when God brought northwest medical into the picture, and they offered to help, and we (hpc) were able to start the ball rolling by making the down payment. now we’re ready to roll, and we’ve got supplies and medicine that could last us up to a year already on hand.

q: so what are your plans for the near future to “get rolling”?

dr. cheri: we’ve actually already started by setting up one clinic day at the spanish campus in gonzales. we saw patients for four hours – a total of 26 people. we’re making plans now to schedule a regular clinic time at that campus. we’re continuing with the dream center clinic, and we’ve begun seeing people from bethany north’s center of hope, many of whom are katrina victims who have been living in hotels in that part of town. there are several more opportunities to serve in communities of hurricane victims that we’re pursuing right now as well. we want to grow to 10 clinics each month.

q: can you describe a typical clinic day?

dr. cheri: well, we make arrangements first with the location to be sure they have a facility with restrooms and seating to serve as a waiting area. this works especially well when the location is a church. we have volunteers who serve as greeters and hosts – to help the people feel welcome and to keep them company while they wait. they also help bring the guests to the patient rooms when it is their turn to be seen. after the visit, the hosts take them to a station where we’ll set up their next visit with the doctor. then before they leave, each guest is prayed for by prayer partners – volunteers who are there simply to pray with people for their needs. in our first clinic at the spanish campus, three people gave their lives to Jesus right there on the spot while praying with the prayer partners. that’s where the real ministry happens. it is all ministry – helping them with medical care, loving on them, and praying for them. but when we’re honored with the privilege to pray with someone as they cross the line of faith, that’s really special. the medical care is just the carrot to draw them in. the one-on-one ministry is what it’s all about.

q: what kind of help do you need? do volunteers need to be medical professionals?

dr. cheri: we need a lot of people who can just help host, greet, serve as receptionists, and prayer partners, and we need medical professionals as well. the more volunteers we have, the more clinics we can do, and the more people we can help. it is a way to serve that will bless you tremendously every time you do it.

q: if someone wants to volunteer to help with the healing hands mobile clinic, what should they do?

dr. cheri: on sunday, march 5, at 4pm in the annex 1 auditorium, we’re going to have a meeting for anyone who wants to be a part. they can also email healinghands@healingplacechurch.org or call 225-408-3380 ext. 347 and we’ll be glad to answer any questions they have.


Jean Ohlerking said...

dr cheri is a real super hero

Phillip LeBlanc said...

I know her!!!

I see her all the time :D


Melissa Carlisle said...

I was honored to have the opportunity to help Dr. Cheri at one of her Clinics in Donaldsonville. She is doing a great job! I pray that her outreach will continue to grow and be successful.