Published on November 28, 2018 by Catie Bell  

The Easterseals of Birmingham Area hosted their annual awards luncheon on Nov. 14 where Samford University, faculty, and alumni of Ida Moffett School of Nursing were honored for their contributions to the Easterseals Community Health Clinic in Pell City, Alabama.

Among those recognized as “Volunteer of the Year,” specifically for their work in planning and implementing the health clinic:

  • Cristy Daffron –Doctor of Nursing Practice Alumna, Ida Moffett School of Nursing
  • Debbie Duke – Congregational Health Program Director, College of Health Sciences Center for Faith and Health, MSN Alumnus - Ida Moffett School of Nursing
  • Annette Hess – Associate Professor, Ida Moffett School of Nursing
  • Kim Craven – Doctor of Nursing Practice Student, Ida Moffett School of Nursing

Samford University also received a “Partnership Award” for their support in the activities related to the clinic.

Modeled after Church Health in Memphis, Tennessee, the Easterseals Community Health Clinic is a nonprofit clinic for St. Clair County residents without health insurance. It was initiated by several Ida Moffett School of Nursing alumni who live in St. Clair County and recognized the growing need for medical care for those without means to pay for it.

Following months of brainstorming with fellow volunteers and local St. Clair officials, Duke, Daffron, and others attended a community foundation grant meeting in the hopes of learning more about how to start a clinic. Upon seeing the Samford name badge on Duke, a gentleman approached her as to why someone from Samford would be at this particular meeting. “We are going to start a clinic out here for people who do not have health care,” explained Duke to the stranger.

“We laugh about it now, because we said that was the start of [the clinic] truly happening because that man was David Higgins, Executive Director of Easterseals. He partnered with us because Easterseals already had so many of the things in place to help make this happen quickly. So, within eight months, we were opening the doors,” continued Duke. 

Duke explains that the clinic is indeed a passion-project for those involved. “Every obstacle that we have come up against or any roadblock - we, as a group, just relied on each other and prayer - we would stop and pray. It is not “our” clinic - this is truly God’s clinic. Because none of us made it happen - He opened up every door to make it happen.” 

“The Easterseals clinic is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in the community while spreading the word of an awesome God,” said Hess. 

Several students from the graduate nursing program are working at the clinic. “The clinic is run 100% on volunteerism. We need volunteers from all medical professions including nursing, social work, nutrition, therapies, and pharmacy. We also need non-medical volunteers who are willing to serve at least 1/2 day a week in the front office,” Daffron said, “We are finding that God keeps bringing the right volunteers at the right time, and He is bringing volunteers with unexpected, creative talents.” 

To find out more about the clinic, volunteer, or donate, please call 205-338-4806.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.