In the early 1990’s, Dr. Kim Bowen, an emergency room physician, traveled to Bosnia to provide medical care to those in need. Upon his return, a neighbor approached him because he was not feeling well. The neighbor was out of medications and unable to see a doctor due to having no medical insurance. Despite working two jobs, he was still unable to afford care or medications for a chronic health issue. This experience made Dr. Bowen realize that his own neighbors needed access to medical services. Determined to help those who had a job but could still not afford health insurance and did not qualify for government assistance, he started the Parma Health Ministry in 1995.
Once Dr. Bowen began working in Medina Hospital’s Emergency Department, he quickly became aware that Medina County had similar issues. Community members with no health insurance were coming to the ER for care because they could not afford to see a doctor. Dr. Bowen reached out to his colleague Dr. John Surso, a local family physician actively involved in the community, who quickly volunteered to assist in establishing a free clinic in Medina. They, along with several community members including Phillip Brewer and Tom Wolfe, began to develop the vision of the Medina Health Ministry. After three years of planning and fundraising, Dr. Bowen met with the clinic’s first patient on January 8th, 2004.
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