Our History

Groundbreakers in modern medicine since the mid-20th century.

The Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center is named for one of the groundbreakers in medicine from the middle of the 20th Century. In addition to his responsibilities as Surgery Department Chair at Meharry Medical College (1943 – 1973), Dr. Matthew Walker, Sr. was a champion of comprehensive community healthcare who established health programs in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Dr. Walker advocated at local and state levels for nearly a decade before receiving an initial Federal grant of approximately $1.5 million to start a community-based clinic in Nashville. This grant was used to build the health center that has continually brought high-quality, affordable care to Middle Tennessee’s underinsured and uninsured citizens for a half century.

The initial clinic, called the Meharry Neighborhood Health Center, opened March 11, 1968 in a temporary location as the first Federally Qualified Health Center in the state of Tennessee. In 1970, the clinic’s name was changed to Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center to honor Dr. Walker’s legacy of tirelessly advocating for health care for all people, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

Today, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center provides primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health services and health education to approximately 18,000 people annually in Nashville, Clarksville and Smyrna, Tennessee.