Katy White, MD
Katy White, MD L.A. Christian Health Centers
I am a family practice physician who currently serves as Chief Medical Officer at Los Angeles Christian Health Centers (LACHC). LACHC is a non-profit, Christian community health center, which provides medical, dental, optometry, and mental health care, social services, street teams, spiritual care, and housing assistance at sites in Skid Row, Boyle Heights, and other parts of Los Angeles. The mission of LACHC is to follow Christ by loving our neighbors through comprehensive, quality healthcare, and our vision is the healing and restoration of homeless and underserved communities.
I grew up in the Los Angeles area, attended Williams College in Massachusetts and received a BA in Psychology. I grew up nominally religious, attending Episcopal church and completing confirmation, but really met Jesus in college through friends at Williams, InterVarsity Christian fellowship, and through a transformative spiritual experience in India my sophomore year in college. I went to India to study and explore Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, but encountered Jesus, largely through Scripture, and felt compelled to follow Him. Also in India, I encountered devastating poverty, particularly in a medical context, and sensed that Jesus was calling me to serve among marginalized people through health care.
I proceeded with pre-medicine classes and medical school applications, but at the Urbana missions conference senior year, was compelled in a deeper way to put Jesus before academic performance, and felt called to take a year off for missions work. I spent the year after college doing missions work in Mexico City working with medical and dental teams, predominately with people who were living and working in the garbage dumps, and experienced God’s healing power, provision, and compassion for people experiencing poverty and for me. I was also engaged that year (to Bill White, who really introduced me to Jesus), and married 5 weeks before starting medical school.
I attended medical school at UC San Diego. I also obtained a Masters of Public Health at San Diego State University. While in medical school, I “found my people” largely through a CCHF conference my second or third year, and CCHF has provided me encouragement, fellowship, and guidance ever since. I was able to complete a summer project working with migrant farm workers, do several rotations in urban underserved clinics, including a formative preceptorship at Lawndale Christian Health Center my 3rd year, and take a missions trip to Iquitos, Peru. My husband served in student ministry in San Diego. We moved to Long Beach/ Los Angeles area for residency, where I completed family practice residency training in Long Beach, California. We had our first child in residency, then I worked (part time) for 2 other community clinics serving underserved populations, in South Central Los Angeles, and Compton, before coming to LACHC in 2009. I stayed involved in CCHF throughout these years, serving on the Board of Directors 2008-2013 and then continuing on the governance committee.
. I enjoy jogging, hiking, and reading, and am trying to learn and grow in the areas of justice and racial and cultural awareness.
I feel deeply called by Jesus to serve where I do, in the inner city of Los Angeles, with overwhelming numbers of people experiencing homelessness, generational poverty, and limited access to health care due to immigration status. How do I know that I am called?
- Theologically: Every time I read, hear, or reflect upon Jesus’s teaching, healing, and actions, I see Him spending time with people excluded by the powerful people in society.
- Experientially: In praying for patients, particularly those with overwhelming needs that I can’t fix, I am reminded daily that God is God and I am not. I need to be reminded that I too am not the healthy but the sick, because that is who Jesus came for. Jesus comes for me also, as I spend time with people on the margins.
- Relationally: Jesus has given me partners on the journey who support me in this difficult work, so I am not alone, and I have been deeply blessed to see the growth of others (professionally and personally) who join us to serve.
How Has CCHF Impacted my Life?
In so many ways: CCHF has felt like a spiritual home for me as a Christian health professional. CCHF has encouraged me when I have been burned out and without community. CCHF has given me tools for spiritual growth. CCHF has helped me to learn about racism and my own participation in racial injustice, and about injustice in health care. Through CCHF I have learned about spiritual care and self care. CCHF has brought me mentors, incredible books, and relationships with others throughout the country. CCHF has helped me grow and develop as a leader.
My Life Verse:
- OT: “God has shown you, o people, what is good and what the LORD requires of you…but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).
- NT: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
I live in Long Beach, and have been married for 27 years to my husband Bill, who pastors a church plant in a diverse neighborhood of Long Beach, which meets in the local school, is active in serving the local neighborhood, and seeks to be a radically welcoming community encouraging people on their journey towards Jesus. We have 2 young adult children who are both attending college on the east coast, Timothy, a senior, and Caris, a first year student.
3 Interesting Facts About Myself
- I recently took my first ever hot-air balloon ride.
- I tried to start a Christian medical clinic in Compton, CA and failed
- Most of my reading these days has been focused on White fragility and cultural awareness