By: Dr. Bill Morehouse, MD
I grew up throughout the Northeast after my father’s return from WWII, moving multiple times over the years to follow his career in engineering. With each move we became active in a local mainline Protestant church, including Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal congregations where I became involved in youth work. By the time my undergraduate medical education was complete, I had matriculated at 12 different schools and expanded my religious perspective into a misguided global interfaith belief in the goodness of mankind, coupled with the New Age sense accompanying my emerging liberal “hippie” lifestyle that all religions were basically groping around the same set of truths.
I chose to attend the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky with its focus on primary care because I wanted to be a personal physician (“a real doctor”) who cared for everyone in the family. I went on to residency in the new Family Practice Program in Rochester, NY because its emphasis on caring for underserved rural and urban populations was in keeping a persistent sense I have had that doctors and communities should focus their attention on the places in society that need the most help, similar to the way we focus more of our attention on the sick parts of a person while protecting and supporting those parts that are healthier.
Following the nationally known prison riot at the Attica Correctional Facility in 1971 I was instrumental in evaluating and recommending major changes to the failed health system there and offered my services to implement them. When my proposal was turned down, I took a job at an OEO poverty clinic in Rochester where my lifestyle and intense commitment to do a God-sized task led me into the personal crisis that culminated in my dramatic conversion to Christ in April 1974, a conversion that reconciled my sin, stress, hopes, fears, and entire church upbringing.
After a year of discipleship, followed by brief stints in emergency and occupational medicine, I met and married my wonderful wife of 43 years. Susan and I felt called together to open a whole person Christian clinic in the heart of the inner city neighborhood where we were living. Susan became a homemaker, community builder, mother of our four children, harpist, and grandmother of our seven grandchildren. What God started in 1978 has grown from a solo practice with one staff member to a multi-provider Federally Qualified Health Center serving two poorly resourced Rochester neighborhoods with numerous providers and support staff.
Over the years I’ve delivered over 1500 babies, cared for thousands of inpatients of all ages, and probably had nearly 100,000 documented “face-to-face encounters” with patients in the office. Training medical students and residents has always been part of it, with many going on into missions at home and abroad to establish similar works in other places. We’re active in the Christian Community Health Fellowship and have overseen the development of student and practicing provider support groups in Rochester that are active at the University Medical Center and broader community, reaching the lives of hundreds over the years.
God is good, and the life He gives us is not only embedded in this fallen world but will go on into eternity beyond it. Susan and I are looking forward to being with all of you in September!