Camillus Health: Not just for the homeless

Downtown Miami clinic also serves poor families and children, including the undocumented


Medical assistants Magally Zelaya, front, and Lucelly Diaz prepare to draw blood from a 21-month-old as his mother holds him, July 29, 2022, at Miami’s Camillus Health Concern. The family arrived a month earlier from Honduras. Medical staff at the clinic provide vaccines, check-ups, visual and dental services to newly arrived immigrant children regardless of legal status or financial ability.


MIAMI | When people think of Camillus House, they think, primarily, of homeless adults. Ditto for its partner agency, Camillus Health Concern.

But Camillus Health’s Good Shepherd center, located at 336 N.W. Fifth Street, provides comprehensive health care, behavioral and social services not only to homeless adults but also to underserved families and children, including the undocumented.

On a recent Friday, the center’s medical staff were conducting physicals and vaccinating children and teenagers in preparation for the start of school. Many of those served that day were recent arrivals from Central America.

“We are a community clinic and we will see anyone – insurance, no insurance, it doesn’t matter. Because our mission is to serve the underserved,” said Dr. Chandra Jennings, Camillus Health’s medical director.

Camillus Health began in 1984 as an outreach to Miami’s homeless, spearheaded by a local Catholic physician, Pedro Jose Greer Jr., the son of Cuban immigrants and a graduate of Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School.

The clinic now serves over 6,000 patients a year, 93% of whom, according to its 2021 annual report, fell below the federal poverty line of $12,880 in individual annual income. The clinic provides them with check-ups, dental and vision care, psychological counseling, management of chronic diseases, medicines, and referrals to other specialists and community agencies, including the Lions Club and Mercy Hospital’s Reach Out Miami Program.

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