Drs. Geiger and Gibson (Tufts University Medical School Physicians) secured funding in 1965 from the Office of Economic Opportunity to establish what is now known as Delta Health Center, Inc. in then all African- American town of Mound Bayou, MS to serve Bolivar, Coahoma, Sunflower, and Washington counties, where poverty was widespread. DHC was previously identified as the Tufts-Delta Health Center, the Delta Community Health Center, and the Mound Bayou Community Hospital and Delta Health Center. The original grant also provided for an urban community health center in the Columbia Point housing project in Boston, Massachusetts, now known as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center.
From DHC's inception, Dr. Geiger served simultaneously as the project director for both the Boston and Mound Bayou community health centers. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Geiger recruited others in his pursuit to establish DHC. Dr. John Hatch, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Tufts University, served as Director of Community Health Action. Dr. Andrew James, Environmental Engineer, served as Director of Environmental Improvement.
Additionally, dedicated community leaders like Dr. L.C. Dorsey, most notable for her role in the development of Operation Headstart and other community initiatives was the first employee to join DHC. She later rose through the ranks of DHC to succeed Dr. Geiger as the Executive Director. Drs. Aaron Shirley and Robert Smith also played a pivotal role in the early organization of DHC. Dr. Willie B. Lucas was the first medical director.
Lampton Street Church’s converted parsonage served as DHC’s initial residence where patients were first seen. In 1968, the center moved into a new facility. Today, DHC operates six community health centers in the Mississippi Delta.
A time line on the rich history of Delta Health Center, Inc. is coming soon.
Challenging Inequality - Dr. Jack Geiger remembers the early years of the Delta Health Center.