Bethesda Life Center offers array of wellness programs

Special to The Times

From left, City Councilor Sheila Tyson, Ensley Neighborhood President George McCall, Community President Magnolia Cook, Board Member William Robertson, Jr. (deceased), President of Bethesda Life Center Bettina Byrd-Giles, Board Member Gwen DeRu, Board President Attorney Antonio Spurling and Community Leader Patrick Packer. (Provided photo)
From left, City Councilor Sheila Tyson, Ensley Neighborhood President George McCall, Community President Magnolia Cook, Board Member William Robertson, Jr. (deceased), President of Bethesda Life Center Bettina Byrd-Giles, Board Member Gwen DeRu, Board President Attorney Antonio Spurling and Community Leader Patrick Packer. (Provided photo)

The name for Bethesda Life Center, located in Ensley, was inspired by two passages from the Gospel of John. “Bethesda” (meaning “pool of mercy”) came from the story of the miracle Jesus performed at the pool of Bethesda as recorded in the 5th chapter.

Jesus, noticing the sick people at the pool waiting for the opportunity to be healed, inquired of a man who had been infirmed for 38 years whether he wanted to be made “whole” (v.6, KJV). Despite the man’s rambling response, Jesus surmised that he desired to be made well (or whole). By hearing and heeding the words of Jesus, the man was healed.

The Bethesda Life Center (TBLC) is a private, nonprofit corporation established in 2005, initially by members of Faith Chapel Christian Center. It is governed by a 15- member board of directors representing a broad spectrum of the community it serves.

TBLC considers “the community” to be its owners and expects the community to hold it accountable. The best interest of the community guides all its decisions.

Services

The Bethesda Life Center (TBLC) provides primary health services to residents of Birmingham’s western neighbors. It is the medical home to its patients and its physicians and nurse practitioners serve as “quarterbacks” for their comprehensive care and treatment. It has collaboration agreements with other health care providers to ensure that patients have access to needed specialty services.

With its emphasis on wellness, TBLC provides health education both to its patients and to the larger community. Its philosophy is shaped by the African tradition of communal responsibility and accountability. Its emphasis is on the health of the entire community, not just the patients it serves.

Its community wellness programs are:

• Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings

• The Bethesda is a provider for the Alabama Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The program is available to women who are:

  • A resident of Alabama
  • 50—64+
  • 40—49 with symptoms
  • Uninsured or underinsured
  • At or below 200% poverty

FITWAY Alabama Colorectal Cancer Prevention Program

 The Bethesda is a provider for FITWAY.  The FITWAY Alabama Colorectal Cancer Prevention Program is a statewide program of ADPH aimed at increasing screening rates for men and women 50 to 64 years of age in Alabama.

Wellness and disease prevention programs

 Eat, Move Rejoice!

Eat, Move Rejoice is a free diabetes prevention program funded by Cities for Life.  Our partners include Faith Chapel Christian Center, AARP, and West End Community Garden.

Step One:  Health Evaluation

Schedule an appointment for a health evaluation with The Bethesda.  It is free of charge.

It consists of a blood pressure check, measuring BMI (Body Mass Index), goal setting, access to an on-line health tracking program*.  Call Arnesha or Bettina at 788-2200 for an appointment.

Step Two:  Get active

Start walking today on the track at the Bridge at Faith Chapel on your own, with an existing walking group or start a walking group.  You can invite friends, family and church members.  Make sure you send us their names so we can inform the front desk that they are coming.

The track is available to program participants at no charge on Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Please sign in the visitor roster or “The Bethedsa” log sheet at the front desk when you arrive.

Step Three:  Eat Healthy

Participate in our nutrition programs which includes a nutrition class, healthy cooking classes, and gardening demonstrations.

Step Four:  Track your progress

Register for the Super Tracker or My Life Check.  The Super Tracker is great for weight loss tracking and working with groups.  My Life Check is great for people with multiple health problems and if you want your health record to be sent to your medical provider.  Your medical provider will have to agree to share his or her email address.  This is great for keeping up with blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Bethesda Life Center is located in Ensley.   Bettina Byrd-Giles is the CEO, President.  (205) 788-2200.