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Free Clinics Awarded Diabetes Grants

This spring, seven free clinics were awarded American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Healthy Communities/Healthy America grants of $10,000 each – supported by Lilly USA, LLC – to help implement diabetes management and education projects for their patients.

Free clinics are run by volunteers and serve as a health care safety net for some of the 46 million Americans without insurance. Free clinics are also a resource for individuals with insufficient insurance coverage.

“Our investment back into our communities isn't measured by the dollars we gave, but the lives we touched,” said Freda McKissic Bush, MD, an AMA Foundation donor. “That’s why I support the AMA Foundation’s Healthy Communities/Healthy America initiative; they connect my desire to help to a tangible need.” Dr. Bush is an obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in Jackson, Miss., and the chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards.

Recently the Agape Clinic in Dallas expanded patient services to include care for chronic conditions in addition to urgent care.  “The AMA Foundation grant is exactly what we need to better serve the many patients we care for with diabetes,” explained Barbara Baxter, MD, founder and medical director of the clinic.

The Agape Clinic is a free-standing community health care clinic that opened in the basement of Grace United Methodist Church in 1983 and was incorporated in 2002.

The AMA Foundation is pleased to be able to help improve the health of people with diabetes through this year’s grants to free clinics. 

The volunteer experience

“We serve the working poor. They are easy to love,” Dr. Baxter stated. “For most of these folks, this is the only medical care they receive.”

Many of the volunteers agree that giving and receiving is a two-way street in free clinics.

Dr. Baxter

“Volunteering at a free clinic is a great way to keep your perspective on life’s bigger picture,” commented Dr. Baxter, a full-time practicing allergist and immunologist. “It’s very freeing to be there only to help the patient. If you don’t do it, they might not get care.”

“I am in solo private practice, but at the Agape Clinic I get to interact with other doctors and nurses, which I enjoy personally and professionally. You can keep up your skills and learn something every day from other doctors there,” she concluded.

Dr. Baxter cautions that no matter how extensive health care coverage becomes, there will always be people who will need a helping hand and a doctor’s kindness.

The following free clinics were awarded 2010 Healthy Communities/Healthy America grants: the Agape Clinic in Dallas; the Bethesda Health Clinic in Tyler, Texas; the Church Hill Free Medical Clinic in Church Hill, Tenn.; the Coastal Medical Access Project in Brunswick, Ga.; the Hope Health Clinic in Griffin, Ga.; the Samaritan’s Touch Care Center in Sebring, Fla.; and the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Eugene, Ore.

Gifts to support free clinics through the Healthy Communities/Healthy America Fund may be made online.