About 90 percent of the 1,300 immigrants and refugees who come to Buffalo annually, as well as another 500 people who move to the city from other locations in the United States, settle on the West Side. Many of them will find their way to Jericho Road Community Health Center, founded by Dr. Myron and Joyce Glick in 1997.
Nearly 1,000 people from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries ranging from East and West Africa to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, along with Buffalonians of modest means, go through the doors each week. More than half of the people are unable to speak English and 70 percent are on Medicaid.
Despite those hurdles, the work culture created by the Glicks – medical missionaries who grew up in an Amish community in Lancaster, Pa. – ensures patients are treated with a level of respect and care the couple say they would want for a family member. Medical services are provided without regard to insurance or ability to pay.
“I’d like to think if President Obama walked into my waiting room, he would have an appointment, he would be seen, but he wouldn’t be treated differently than whoever else was there. That’s the heart of what we want to do here,” Dr. Glick said.
The Glicks’ work – he as a family doctor, she as the front office manager for medical services – is aided by a dedicated staff that often works for less than they would earn at profit-driven medical centers.
Ever-expanding community services now include a refugee drop-in center, eight after-school programs for families in need, a small practice on the East Side and, most recently, an overseas clinic in Sierra Leone.
Because of the Glicks’ efforts, the health center is an essential stabilizing force and a source of comfort for many families in need. It also has presented a successful financial model to others in the medical field even with a low-income patient base.
The Glicks are quick to say their success has depended on dedicated co-workers and supporters. But Jericho Road’s success – and how it has affected so many lives for the better – couldn’t have been done without them.
– Mark Sommer