Words by: Haylee Uptergrove Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Walking through the front doors of Amistad Community Health Center, it is immediately clear that this is not a typical hospital waiting room. From the friendly “Welcome to Amistad!” one hears from the cheerful staff, to the bright decorations lining the halls, it is easy to tell there is something special about Amistad.
Dr. Jacqueline Phillips, who serves as an internal medicine specialist at Amistad, says she can feel the uniqueness of the clinic every time she arrives at work.
“I love this clinic,” Phillips said. “You take the sickest people in the world, you make them better, and you get them out.”
The ‘people’ Phillips speaks of are the underserved healthcare population in the Corpus Christi community, Amistad’s primary patients. Phillips said Amistad is able to offer services to those who may not be able to receive it at a traditional medical institution. No matter what a patient’s financial status is, whether or not they have insurance, or what their medical history is like, they are welcome at Amistad.
“We did a lot of things to kind of help improve access to care. It’s a huge issue,” Phillips said. Whether a patient needs to see an internist, a dentist, an OBGYN, or take their children to a pediatrician, they can receive the treatment they need at Amistad.
“If you think about it, it can almost be your one stop shop,” she said. “You could come here and get your medical care, get your kids medical care, get all of your dental care, and everything in-between.”
Despite its humble beginnings in 2005 as a faith-based, nonprofit organization with only one doctor, Amistad has grown to include two pediatricians, an internal medicine practitioner, 13 residents, a part-time family practice physician, two full-time nurse practitioners, an OBGYN, a full-time dentist, and a behavioral health therapist. “As the needs of the patients have increased, so have Amistad’s services to meet those needs,” said Phillips.
“We have 7,000 patients that come for the pediatrics, medical, and OBGYN services. Out of those 7,000, we have about 1,000 that utilize our dental clinic,” she said. “It’s a lot of people, and a huge practice.”
Serving the people of Corpus and meeting their needs is the heartbeat of Amistad. Phillips said she likes to refer to the clinic as a “safety net” of sorts, a place where anyone can walk through the doors and find the help they need.
The mission of Amistad is perhaps best summed up on their website: to show and share the love of Jesus Christ to the Corpus Christi community by providing holistic, affordable, and quality health care services. By helping the underserved of Corpus receive the care they need, Amistad Community Health Center is doing just that. “Everybody can come here,” she said. “If you can’t find a doctor and you have insurance, you can come here. If you don’t have insurance and you can afford the sliding scale fee, you can come here. It’s really great.”