In 2008, we were exploring the possibilities of expanding a local free clinic, Christian Nursing Service, to better serve our community. We had no physician, a poor facility, and no apparent opportunities. We visited the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of Bartholomew County and were impressed. We saw a path to developing a clinic for the uninsured in Montgomery County. We contacted Volunteers in Medicine and in 2010, Marjorie Hamrell became our advisor. She visited that fall and talked to the community about Volunteers in Medicine. Later, a group from the Columbus VIM clinic also came and talked to our local physicians and nurses about VIM and about their clinic. At the time, I was President of our Board, a real neophyte in healthcare. Marjorie became my guide and through weekly phone calls and several hundred email messages, she helped us formulate policies and plans for the future.
In 2011, we received a $900,000 3:1 challenge grant from North Central Health Service (NCHS) in Lafayette, In. We raised the additional 300,000 from the community in less than 6 months and started construction of our new clinic in the fall of 2012. On Monday, August 26, we saw our first patients in the Dr. Mary Ludwig Free Clinic.
Through our association with VIM, we also received a grant from American Academy of Family Physicians to purchase medical examination tables.
In 2012, I stepped down as President of the Board and became the first Executive Director of Montgomery County Free Clinic, Inc. So I am writing this as the Executive Director, but, I continue to be the primary contact with Marjorie. VIM provided us a viable model for a free clinic that focused on the patient; provided the necessary organizational support to focus our work; and linked us with other VIM clinics whio provided help. You can read more about our clinic at http://mcfreeclinic.org.
Although the behind-the-scenes activities of the national office cannot be possibly be missed, I would like to especially point out how wonderful Marge Hamrell, our coach has been in helping us launch Coastal VIM in New Jersey. It never ceases to amaze me how organized, kind, compassionate, thorough, and incredibly helpful she is! Shefacilitated each step of the way towards our opening day with unfailing commitment, and respect. Thank you all at the national office. And thank you to all the donors who make their invaluable work possible!
Thank you for your comment, Sonia and welcome to the VIM Alliance!