Amarillo Physician, Austin Clinic Named Champions of Health
By Martha Francisco

The Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) presented its 2018 John P. McGovern Champion of Health Awards to an Amarillo clinic for uninsured people and an Austin clinic that works to prevent HIV infections.

Alan Keister, MD, founder of Heal the City Free Clinic, an urgent care facility in Amarillo, received the top award at the TMA Winter Conference in Austin on Saturday. The Kind Clinic of Austin received the secondary award. The awards recognize exceptional projects that address urgent public health threats and extend TMAF’s mission to help physicians create a healthier future for all Texans.

2.1 heal the cityTMAF Champion of Health Top Award: Heal the City 

Heal the City provides quality urgent medical care and referral services with compassion and dignity at no cost to uninsured residents of Amarillo and the Panhandle region. Dr. Keister opened the clinic in 2014 after realizing the desperate need for health care in the area. What began as free health screenings at local schools grew into a 20,000-square-foot clinic that serves 7,000 patients, including people who are homeless, undocumented, refugees, and the working poor. 

“I am humbled to be recognized for the work that is happening at Heal the City,” said Dr. Keister. “I am thankful for this generous award and will use it to continue to provide better care for the uninsured people of our community."

“Thanks to people who have a passion for healing and service, the success of the Heal the City Free Clinic shows how tremendous medical needs of a community can be met,” said Leslie H. Secrest, MD, president of TMAF, TMA’s philanthropic arm. “We are very pleased to honor the work of this clinic and its founder, Dr. Alan Keister, in caring for thousands of patients who otherwise might not get adequate medical care.” 

As TMAF’s top John P. McGovern Champion of Health Award winner, Heal the City receives $5,000 for program enhancement and a specially commissioned bronze statue.

2.1 kind clinic1 Secondary Award: The Kind Clinic of Austin 

The Kind Clinic of Austin received the TMAF Champion of Health secondary award for its Pill that Prevents HIV program, an HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis program that provides patients with a daily pill that can prevent HIV infection. The clinic also provides postexposure prophylaxis, testing, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and HIV testing at low or no cost to medically underserved patients in the Austin area. The clinic welcomes everyone regardless of income and pays special attention to the unique needs of all patients.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the TMA Foundation for the impact we are making on the health and well-being of Texans who need it most,” said Cynthia Brinson, MD, Kind Clinic’s chief medical officer. “Though we are a young organization, we are committed to meeting the needs of the communities we serve through sexual health and wellness.”  

The TMAF Champion of Health Award secondary honoree receives $2,500.

TMAF named the award after the late John P. McGovern, MD, a philanthropist, scholar, and noted allergist who founded the John P. McGovern Foundation in Houston. Dr. McGovern established a permanent endowment at TMAF, which supports this award.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 52,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. The TMA Foundation raises funds to support the population health, science, and quality-of-care priority initiatives of TMA and the Family of Medicine.

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Contact:  Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org

Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org 

Last Updated On

December 03, 2018

Originally Published On

February 01, 2018

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Martha Francisco 

Communications Specialist, Division of Communication

(512) 370-1397

Martha Francisco is the communications specialist for the Texas Medical Association’s Media Relations and PR Department in the Division of Communication.

More stories by Martha Francisco