Poverty, A Problem Here and Around the World
Barbara Stark Baxter, MD made a call in 1983 to the Dallas County (TX) Medical Society (DCMS) to ask about physician volunteer opportunities in Dallas. The director of DCMS had never had such an inquiry. He referred Dr. Baxter to Los Barrios Unidos, a clinic in the West Dallas Barrio. Unfortunately, administrators at the clinic feared that having a volunteer physician would jeopardize their much needed federal funding. So instead, they put her on its board of directors. “At one board meeting a passionate individual made a presentation for a clinic she wanted to start in East Dallas,” Dr. Baxter says. And therein was her volunteer opportunity and the Agape Clinic was born.
Over the last 30 years the Agape Clinic has expanded to 11 exam rooms and now is open six days a week and in the last 4 years services have nearly tripled and yet the Clinic is still seeking to provide services to all that are in need of medical care. Dr. Baxter is joined by other medical professionals and students that donate their time to help address these needs. Their work is making a difference and Medical Ministry International realized we could come alongside and help to expand the work of the Agape Clinic in a substantial way.
In late April of 2015, over 30 MMI Volunteers, International Board Members, and Staff joined the Agape Clinic team to address their backlog of patients focusing our efforts on Vision, Primary Care, and Integrated Health. Many of the volunteers regularly join with MMI throughout the world and jumped at the chance to address the needs of the least of these in our own community. The Project would be the first time in the 47 year history of Medical Ministry International that we were able to bring our worldwide expertise to our own backyard. The Agape Clinic has the resources to see approximately 30 vision patients a month. Over the course of the two day project, 250 appointments were scheduled to address the vision care backlog. The Primary Care and Integrated Health Teams were able to see another 66 patients and bring our two day total to 316 patients that received direct services!
We are thrilled to be able to come alongside organizations, clinics, and hospitals throughout the world. We are especially excited to see that we can use our program executions and services to help those in our own community that need help. This is just the beginning and as we continue to expand our operations around the world, we are able to also reach out to those around our own community to ensure that they receive the care, love, and support that they so desperately need.
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