GraceMed’s Downing Family Clinic: A Legacy of Hope
Among our present-day network of clinics, the Downing Family Clinic holds a special position. In 2008, Russ Meyer was looking for partners to join him in bringing opportunity to some neighborhoods on 21st that had long been locked in economic despair. We are so grateful that he found able partners in Barry and Paula Downing who saw the need to improve access to medical services in that area.
For GraceMed, the Downing Family Clinic represented our first venture into a satellite location since becoming a Federally Qualified Health Center the year before. It was also our first collaboration with USD 259 to build a clinic as an annex to one of their schools, in this case, Gordon Parks Academy. This was an opportunity to validate that our model of care could be transplanted to medical deserts where the residents would otherwise be too far away from the care their families needed. Having affordable medical and dental care just a few steps away from the classroom became an enormous convenience that continues to make a dramatic difference in the health, well-being and academic performance of the children.
But the Downing’s vision was to serve the healthcare needs of everyone in the family, and today, that’s exactly what we’re doing. We provide primary medical and dental hygiene services for everyone regardless of age or insurance coverage. In the last three years alone, we have seen more than 13,000 patients. The clinic has become a vital part of the community and the proving ground for our satellite operations in six subsequently established, school-based clinics.
So the story of our Downing Family Clinic continues to expand into the lives and health of children and their families throughout Wichita and even beyond as we have grown into Topeka, McPherson and Clearwater. The despair witnessed by the Downings and Russ Meyer all those years ago has been replaced by the hope of better life that is only possible if you have your health.
Children are overcoming chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma that once limited their potential. They’re getting more out of their education and their futures. Their parents are living healthier, more productive lives, too, laying the groundwork upon which their children can thrive. And all of it was made possible through the vision and generous support of the Downing Family Foundation.
Venus Lee, CEO
GraceMed Health Clinic, Inc.
(Click each photo to enlarge)
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being,
let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” ~William Penn