TACHC Statement on the Passing of Dr. Jack Geiger
Wednesday, January 5, 2021
Dr. H. Jack Geiger’s Legacy Lives on
The health center movement lost a giant when Dr. H. Jack Geiger died at 95 last week. Today, we stand on the shoulders of Dr. Geiger, who along with Dr. Count Gibson, co-founded community health centers in South Boston and in the Mississippi Delta in the 1960s. Those first health centers served as a model for today’s more than 1,400 health center organizations operating more than 12,000 service delivery locations in every state and territory. Dr. Geiger and Dr. Gibson are widely credited as the pioneers of the community health center movement.
In the words of Dr. Geiger, “The community health center has become the backbone of the healthcare safety net in this country. That’s something that I don’t think we even dreamed of when we were starting those first two health centers. From the very beginning, one of the most important components of the health center effort was what we called community health action, which was really community organizing.”
A lifelong civil rights activist, Dr. Geiger understood that community health centers could provide desperately needed health care to the medically underserved, as well as food, sanitation, education, jobs and social services — what he called “a road out” of poverty. In a career spanning more than six decades, Dr. Geiger devoted his life’s work to solving the problems of health, poverty and human rights.
While TACHC is deeply saddened at the loss of this tireless heath care champion, we are immeasurably grateful for his monumental contributions to the health center movement, and we are proud to carry on his legacy of expanding access to health care. Dr. Geiger’s vision for inclusive health care paved the way for the comprehensive health services today’s community health centers offer that are so critical in helping low-income and uninsured families live healthier lives and build stronger communities.
"We have lost a great man and a true legend,” said TACHC Executive Director Jana Eubank. “He had a vision that he made into a reality as the founder of a health care movement that anchors communities and serves 30 million Americans that would not have access to health care without them. It was the honor of a lifetime to meet him and the other great health center leaders—Dr. Robert Smith and James Hatch—at the 50th Anniversary celebration in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. He was my hero.”