Original sign in front of the Jackson Free Clinic for the Homeless. Since the foundation of the clinic, we have not only changed our name to Jackson Free Clinic, but also extended our hours.
In the fall of 1998, Dr. Joyce Olutade, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at UMMC, addressed the student leaders of the Family Medicine Interest Group. She proposed a student-run health clinic to serve the homeless population of Jackson. She had recently worked in a similar facility in California, and felt Jackson would benefit from this type of clinic. The clinic would provide a needed service while allowing medical students to gain knowledge and experience in a clinical setting. An organizational meeting was held, and six medical students began working to make this idea a reality.
In November 2001, the Jackson Free Clinic for the Homeless was officially registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In 2002, the clinic opened its doors at Voice of Calvary Ministries. One year later, a permanent building on MLK Drive was donated. As many who volunteered at the clinic realized its services reached beyond just homeless patients, they decided to shorten the organization name to the Jackson Free Clinic. Changing the name of the clinic reflected that it was there to serve any person who did not have health insurance. Since then, the number of patients seeking care at the JFC has steadily grown. In 2021, the JFC provided healthcare services for 1151 patients conducting over 1900 visits with patients from over 85 different towns across Mississippi.
The JFC front sign outside medical and dental clinics.
Gutted interior of JFC's main building - 2012
As the number of uninsured patients seeking care grew, so did the need to provide additional healthcare services. Since the foundation of the clinic, patient care services have grown to include dental, psychiatry, dermatology, gynecology, pharmacy, rehabilitation, and social health services. Students and faculty from other professional schools at UMMC began volunteering to make these services available. These service expansions have also been made possible by physical expansions. In 2013, a project which raised over $300,000 to completely renovate the clinic building was completed. In 2020, a new $100,000 dental clinic with 6 operatories was opened and connected to the main clinic. And in 2021 a portion of the main clinic building was remodeled to create 3 new exam rooms, dedicated telehealth space, and a specialty services workspace. In just 20 short years of its existence, the JFC had expanded its services to include a more holistic healthcare experience for each patient, and strives to continue expanding services to each patient seeking care.
Dr. Joyce Olutade
JFC Founder & First Medical Director