ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE
Founded in June 1986, the E.C. Tyree Health & Dental Clinic first provided access to medical care for the working poor in the Wichita, Kansas area. Thirty years and thousands of patients later, this full-time community-based health and wellness ministry of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita serves 6,000 patients annually from its facilities on the lower level of the church.
"The clinic uses an integrated model of care," says CEO Schaunta James-Boyd. "Medical, dental, mental (health) and social services teams work collaboratively to address the whole person. Much of what we have built has been through word of mouth as well as establishing a good reputation for caring about our patients."
For many in the community — oftentimes entire families — the clinic serves as their medical and dental care provider.
"Medical staff address acute and chronic health management." James-Boyd said. "Dental provides full-scale services including cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, dentures, crowns and mini-dental implants." In addition, the clinic houses a behaviorist who works with the medical and dental staff to assist patients with depression or other mental health issues. A health insurance navigator helps patients enroll in insurance plans.
"Our main focus is on prevention and providing hands-on skills and education so patients can be more in charge of their health," James-Boyd said. The clinic hosts many preventive education classes and health screenings for those in the community. The screenings can be lifesaving. James-Boyd noted several patients were diagnosed in the early stages of breast or prostate cancer.
By focusing on prevention and encouraging wholeness, the clinic's staff empowers people to care for themselves, families and others. Looking to the future, James-Boyd hopes to add partnerships offering optometry and alcohol and drug treatment services. "I want the clinic to offer a model of care where we teach upcoming clinical professionals best practices and how to work as an integrated team for our patients' overall wellbeing."
The clinic appears to be well on its way to achieving those goals. A 15-year-old patient summed up her recent experience, "I have been to the dentist and seen the doctor here. I have never met people that genuinely care so much to help you financially, mentally and physically! They think with their minds and process through their hearts. The most important thing about this clinic is they will remember you!"
Learn more about the work and ministries of the E. C. Tyree Health Clinic here.
Cindy Solomon is a marketing consultant and content writer living in Franklin, Tennessee.