On A Mission to Serve the Underserved | Heartland Stories
In the heart of Jackson, Mississippi, lies a beacon of hope for the underserved—one fueled by its founder’s mission to provide high-quality healthcare and community services to local residents.
“Within a three-mile radius of our location, economic security is extremely low,” said Primus Wheeler, executive director at the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation. “Fifty percent of the residents live in poverty—these residents can’t afford healthcare, so at the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation, we serve low- to moderate-income citizens as well as the community at large.”
Dr. Aaron Shirley dedicated his life to others as a pioneer of rural and urban health care for the state of Mississippi. It was his commitment to this profession that inspired his vision for a one-stop shop health care facility for the underserved. That concept became a reality with the Jackson Medical Mall, one of the nation’s most unique community health care endeavors.
“We approach healthcare differently than most healthcare entities we look at—all the reasons for folks having bad health conditions—and we start to talk about, ‘How do you prevent those things?’
“So, we developed early on in the process a dual mission,” he continued. “Number one, we provide the healthcare for the unserved, and we do economic and community development at the same time.”
The Jackson Medical Mall Foundation has about 150 employees serving approximately 200,000 clients per year. With up to 50 doctors on site at any time, the mall provides a one-stop shop of sorts for clients in need.
“I wake up every morning and come to this place, and I would be here whether they paid me or not,” Wheeler said.