Dr. H. Jack Geiger and Dr. Count Gibson (Tufts University Medical School Physicians) secured funding in 1965 from the Office of Economic Opportunity to establish what is now known as Delta Health Center, Inc. in Mound Bayou (then all African- American town), MS to serve Bolivar, Coahoma, Sunflower, and Washington counties, where poverty was widespread. DHC was previously identified as the Tufts-Delta Health Center, the Delta Community Health Center, and the Mound Bayou Community Hospital and Delta Health Center. The original grant also provided for an urban community health center in the Columbia Point housing project in Boston, Massachusetts, now known as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center.
From DHC’s inception, Dr. Geiger served simultaneously as the project director for both the Boston and Mound Bayou community health centers. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Geiger recruited others in his pursuit to establish DHC. Dr. John Hatch, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Tufts University, was the first employee hired and served as Director of Community Health Action. He is credited for selecting Mound Bayou, MS, as the location for the first rural community health center in the nation. Dr. Andrew James, Environmental Engineer, served as Director of Environmental Improvement.
Additionally, dedicated community leaders like Dr. L.C. Dorsey, most notable for her role in the development of the 500 acre Farm Co-op, Operation Headstart, and other community initiatives. She later rose through the ranks of DHC to succeed Dr. Geiger as the Executive Director. Drs. Aaron Shirley and Robert Smith also played a pivotal role in the early organization of DHC.
Lampton Street Church’s converted parsonage served as DHC’s initial residence where patients were first seen. In 1968, the center moved into a new facility. Today, Delta Health Center operates ten (10) community health centers in the Mississippi Delta.