"The mission of the Agape Clinic is to provide quality health care services unconditionally to underserved people."
The Agape Clinic began in 1983 when Barbara Stark Baxter, MD called the Dallas County 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 the organization's 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.
Soon she was shown a 12-foot by 13-foot closet in the basement of Grace United Methodist Church with light bulbs hanging from wires in the ceiling. This was her clinic. "I was fresh from residency, so I bought a few things used at Parkland, like Quinidine," Dr. Baxter says. "I basically ordered everything to use in a family practice outpatient clinic." Word spread. Vaccines came in from the Dallas County Health Department, and soon Dr. Baxter and her small staff were administering immunizations along with seeing sick patients. Volunteers from the Grace congregation played a vital role in staffing and coordinating the clinic and continue to serve on the board of directors. The closet grew into a clinic, which was expanded and renovated with gifts from donors who recognized the value of services to the working poor. In 2000, the clinic merged with Baylor Community Care, an outreach medical and social services clinic staffed with Baylor University professor, Charles Kemp, FNP and nursing students. The merger allowed Agape to expand to a four day per week family medical practice clinic.
The Clinic has seen continual growth over the last 35 years. In 2013, a renovation expanded Agape's space to 11 exam rooms. Thanks to generous donors, the Clinic completed a $2.4 million capital campaign in 2015 to purchase the current building, which houses 13 medical exam rooms, 1 counseling room, and 7 dental suites. Last year, 17,153 visits were provided and thousands of hours of service were given by our mostly volunteer medical team. Just over 7,600 of the visits were for specialty services and over $300,000 dollars was donated by our patients themselves. One of the greatest strengths of Agape Clinic is the investment our patients make towards their care. Because of their investment in their care, they are more likely to stay on top of their medical issues reducing the chance that they will need to seek services in the emergency room, the most expensive medical care available. The Agape Clinic is committed to getting and keeping our patients well so that they can continue to be productive members of our community.
Community partners include UT Southwestern Medical School, Texas A & M University Baylor College of Dentistry, Baylor University Lousie Harrington School of Nursing, Lab Corp, Highland Park United Methodist Church, University Park United Methodist Church, Grace United Methodist Church, Munger Place Church, David M. Crowley Foundation, Communities Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, Dallas Women's Foundation, Corrigan Goddard Foundation, Hillcrest Foundation, Rees-Jones Foundation, City Square, Human Rights Initiative, and other health, spiritual, and social service organizations.