21 9 / 2014

Cross-over Clinic: Church and State

Josephine One copy

Cross-Over Clinic/The Richmond Street Center May 1986/Josephine Ensign

Health and Homelessness in Richmond, Virginia in the 1980s: The clinic I worked for at the Richmond Street CenterCross-Over Clinic*—was started by physician Cullen Rivers and his Presbyterian church friend, the Reverend Judson “Buddy” Childress. Buddy had been a life insurance salesman before going to seminary.  His ministry…

View On WordPress

19 9 / 2014

http://wp.me/p1aUuD-1IO

DSC00502

Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia 2012/Josephine Ensign

Health and Homelessness in Richmond, Virginia in the 1980s: When I was growing up on the outskirts of Richmond, I was taught to avoid the area of town where I would work at The Richmond Street Center . The neighborhood it was located in–Oregon Hill–was rumored to be as white, racist, in-bred, impoverished, and violent as an isolated…

View On WordPress

17 9 / 2014

Virginia Relics Part Two: Eugenics

IMG_2662 - Version 2

Skeleton in the Library 2014/Josephine Ensign

Health and Homelessness in Richmond, Virginia in the 1980s: A companion to Virginia’s Racial Integrity law (see previous blog post ‘Virginia Relics Part One: Racism’), The Eugenical Sterilization Act, was also passed into Virginia law in 1924. This was part of Social Darwinism, The Progressive Movement and eugenics: bettering society through social…

View On WordPress

15 9 / 2014

Virginia Relics Part One: Racism

DSC00374

Virginia State Capitol, Richmond 2014/Josephine Ensign

Health and Homelessness in Richmond, Virginia in the 1980s:My hometown of Richmond, Virginia is a city anchored to its past by bronze and marble Confederate shrines of memory, by an undying devotion to the cult of the Lost Cause. I was born and raised in the furrowed, relic-strewn Civil War battlefields on the city’s tattered eastern edge. A…

View On WordPress

13 9 / 2014

Housing is Health

DSC00403

House in Richmond, Virginia 2014/Josephine Ensign

Health and Homelessness in Richmond, Virginia in the 1980s: Although I was intimidated by her when I first started working at the Richmond Street Center in 1986, I quickly came to view Sheila Crowley as a valuable mentor.

Sheila Crowleywas the Executive Director of the Daily Planet (the lead agency of the Richmond Street Center) from 1984-1992.…

View On WordPress

11 9 / 2014

381938823_9c01f8921d_zHealth and Homelessness in Richmond, Virginia in the 1980s: Although I wasn’t sure anyone would come to the clinic at the Richmond Street Center when it first opened (in May 1986), within the first month I had seen fifty different patients for eighty-one clinic visits–meaning patients were returning to the clinic for follow-up visits. After the second month I had seen one hundred nineteen…

View On WordPress

09 9 / 2014

Homeless Refuse and Refuge

DSC00479

The James River and Richmond Skyline 2014/Josephine Ensign

Health and Homelessness in Richmond, Virginia in the 1980s: A half-mile south of the Richmond Street Center was the wide James River. Along the riverbanks lived a group of my patients who called themselves the River Rats.

The River Rats consisted of a dozen or so adults, mostly men, with a few women who were married or otherwise attached…

View On WordPress

07 9 / 2014

The Richmond Street Center: In My Backyard

Street Center B + W copy

The Richmond Street Center 1986

In May of 1986 I began my first ‘real’ nursing job: I worked as a nurse practitioner at the Cross-Over Health Clinic, located in a multi-service center for homeless people called the Richmond Street Center. Located in downtown Richmond (Virginia), the Street Center housed the clinic, a shelter, soup kitchen, laundry and shower services, and many social workers. The…

View On WordPress

03 9 / 2014

Speak Art: Poetry Happens

What poetry does: inspires, transforms, moves, agitates, articulates, imagines, disturbs, delights, and mystifies. What poetry does (according to Emily Dickinson): “If I read a book (and) it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know…

Speak Art: Poetry Happens

What poetry does: inspires, transforms, moves, agitates, articulates, imagines, disturbs, delights, and mystifies. What poetry does (according to Emily Dickinson): “If I read a book (and) it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know…

26 8 / 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge for Ebola

imagesThe U.S.-based ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Association has struck gold with it’s social media fundraising campaign, the ice bucket challenge. Even my neighbor across Lake Washington, the gazillionaire and global health guru Bill Gates has doused himself with ice water and presumably has donated money towards ALS research. As of today, the ALS Foundation has raised 88.5 million dollars, and…

View On WordPress