Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Medical staff at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital serve homeless, poor

Published October 30, 2014

ATLANTA—Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital celebrates Mercy Day annually on Sept. 24, in recognition of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy. She opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland, to assist the homeless, serve the poor and visit the sick.

Following in the footsteps of the Sisters of Mercy, who founded Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, medical staff members have extended this mission to serving the poor and vulnerable through Mercy Care. Over the years, Emory Saint Joseph’s employees have volunteered to provide medical care in homeless shelters, under bridges, on the sidewalks outside soup kitchens, and in clinics across the city. There are now 13 Mercy Care clinics and mobile sites in metro Atlanta.

Two employees were recently saluted for their service with Mercy Care, Dr. Richard Hansen and nurse Wandalene Arnold. Hansen has volunteered at Mercy Care for nearly 20 years.

“The things Mercy Care does are remarkable, and their understanding of the homeless person and their situation is leaps ahead of other organizations,” he said.

A recipient of the Wings of Mercy Award for his commitment to serving the homeless, he dedicates an evening a month to treating Mercy Care patients and mentors medical students working at the clinics.

“Our health care system still has a whole lot of folks left out, and what we do at Mercy Care is just a small way to help deal with this gap,” he said.

Arnold, a nurse in the cardiac intensive care unit, has a passion for nursing and helping those in need.

She worked at Mercy Care as a member of the Community Homeless Outreach Program team. Arnold conducted health screenings on the streets, at soup kitchens and in women’s shelters, while also teaching diabetics about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and blood pressure.

“Mercy Care is a friend to the people,” said Arnold.