Lakeland Health Affiliation
In 2010, Southwestern Medical Clinic and Lakeland Health aligned to form a single organization to provide health services in southwest Michigan. By working together, Southwestern Medical Clinic and Lakeland Health are streamlining the health care delivery system to better serve our patients. This partnership allows both organizations to fulfill our missions to provide the community with high-quality, compassionate care, close to home.
SWMC, by God's grace and following the example of Jesus Christ, strives to be a distinctive role model and leader in the integration of medical care, Christian witness, and missions.
History and Focus of Our Work
Southwestern Medical Clinic, P.C. was founded in 1968 in rural southwestern Michigan by 5 physicians as a small medical practice focused on supporting and encouraging missionary physicians. SWMC's founding represented the realization of the dream of these 5 missionary doctors to work in association with committed Christian physicians in the United States who had been called to support medical missions with their time and resources.
Through the years, we have grown to become a medical practice with over 80 total providers working at eight office locations, as well as an administrative office and a billing center, in Berrien County, Michigan. Organized as a for-profit professional corporation, it has kept its "missionary heart" and has attracted like-minded physicians and providers. SWMC integrates primary care, family medicine, critical care, general surgery, infectious disease, internal medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, physical therapy, and Christian counseling into a unified body of service offerings and providers.
Since our founding, we haved maintained a Christian ministry practice combining a private business structure with a heart for Christian mission. In this regard, the group cares for people from all walks of life here in the United States and around the world. The group began working in a county hospital, taking care of many medically indigent, welfare patients, migrant workers, and the elderly. However, the work has grown so that it ministers to patients from all levels of society; rural, suburban and urban, at locations throughout the county.
Our focus is serving Jesus Christ through medical care, domestic and foreign missions, and Christian witness. We focus on treating and serving patients in need who may not have access to other providers, while also delivering the best available care to everyone in the community.
Whether through serving a large percentage of southwestern Michigan's Medicaid and Medicare recipients, reaching out to indigent, under-insured, or uninsured patients, or traveling overseas to the places where God calls us to serve, we at SWMC are dedicated to treating all those in need to the best of our ability and with the best available resources.
SWMC continues its dedication to supporting Christian medical missions in a number of ways. In the beginning, SWMC offered the furloughing medical missionary a place to train, re-adjust, and re-enter the U.S. medical practice. Our mission support has grown to become a multi-faceted and unique ministry to medical missionaries, medical missions, and to the world. The Southwestern Medical Clinic Foundation
is a 501(c)(3) organization that assists in missions support and offers scholarships to help students and residents experience short-term medical mission work, while maintaining the benefits of a non-profit entity. For more information about the foundation, please visit the SWMC Foundation (link) section of our website.
For the medical missionary physician, SWMC:
- Offers a place to learn new techniques and skills and to gain knowledge for better service as they return to the field.
- Offers a place of encouragement, allowing time for family life and refreshment spiritually, physically, and professionally.
- Creates a support base for prayer, financial support, and short-term assistance and involvement from the group when they return to the field.
Members of the group in full-time medical practice in the United States have the opportunity to offer financial support to medical missions through the group and through independent mission boards. In addition, members can choose to be involved with short-term mission work from two weeks to two years or longer. These are the unique characteristics of the practice: commitment to Jesus Christ and to medical missions; and flexibility to allow physicians to go in the direction that the Lord leads.
SWMC is dedicated to providing the physical support of doctors to medical practices around the world through domestic and international medical missions. One of our domestic missions involved working with patients in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Throughout the clinic's over 40 years of medical practice, our providers have worked as short- and long-term medical missionaries in the following locations: Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Future mission location goals include Kosovo, Nicaragua, and the Phillippines. An average of 20 SWMC providers are overseas using their gifts from God to serve communities in need of medical care every quarter. Our mission involves creating sustainable relationships with the medical organizations in which our physicians provide support in other countries, and many physicians go on recurrent medical missions to a number of locations, such as the Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.