Called to serve the underserved at Agape Clinic
When she first started as Chief Executive Officer at the Agape Clinic, Stephanie Bohan asked Dr. Barbara Baxter, the founder of the clinic, if there was a certain demographic of patient that they needed to focus on as the clinic grew.
Dr. Baxter’s response was, “When people asked Christ to heal them, did he say what zip code do you live in, how much money do you make, and what ethnicity are you? If someone asks you for help, you help them.”
That conversation changed Bohan’s entire perspective. “I was being challenged to live like Christ,” she said. “All of the blessings we have received, all of the lives saved and changed, have happened because of Dr. Baxter’s belief that all people deserved our loving care at Agape.
Dr. Baxter’s challenge to me in the first month of my service at Agape set me on a path to a renewed faith in God, a deepening of my understanding of Christ’s love for those in the margins, and a desire to live my life as a servant to all.”
After gaining fundraising skills in previous jobs, Stephanie Bohan had felt that she was ready to lead an organization where she could use her talents for an important goal. “I wanted to find a mission-driven organization, who truly provided a service that people desperately needed, that I could help grow,” she said. “I found that mission in the Agape Clinic.
Since 1983, the Agape Clinic has provided quality health care services unconditionally to underserved people. Open seven days a week with an all-volunteer refugee clinic on Sundays, Agape is unique in that they do not turn anyone away.
Each day, the Agape Clinic sees between 30 and 100 patients, offering services such as routine physicals and wellness, dentistry, occupational therapy, pediatrics, dermatology, chronic disease treatment, and so much more.
Bohan sees the Agape Clinic as the answer to the problem of providing care to those who cannot afford it. “Our partnerships with medical and dental education institutions, our heavy utilization of volunteers, and our efficient paid staff ‘team model’ uniquely poise Agape Clinic to provide care at one-eighth to one-tenth the actual real-world costs for medical care,” she said.
“It breaks my heart to see things that could have been simply addressed if early detection had been available,” Bohan said. “Underserved people struggle to get all of their basic needs met, and if their health issues go untreated, they make all other struggles even harder. If you are sick, you cannot work, and if you cannot work, maintaining housing is impossible. It is a slippery slope.”
That’s why Highland Park United Methodist Church generously supports the clinic in its commitment to getting and keeping patients well, allowing them to continue being productive members of our community.
Over the years, Stephanie Bohan has been so inspired by the volunteers, donors, and board members that it influenced her decision to become a Methodist. In fact, she’s currently working on a Masters of Arts in Ministry with a non-profit/church leadership concentration at Perkins School of Theology.
In the future, Bohan would like to expand the reach of the clinic, bringing medical care to patients that are hindered by transportation issues. These steps would cut wait times and meet the current high demand for care
She also hopes to fund an additional team at their main location, estimating that they could then see another 5,000 visitors annually. That way, she would get the joy of telling even more patients, “You have a medical home now. Agape will take care of you.”
Photo(s) courtesy of Southern Methodist University, Kim Leeson.