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Free faith-based clinic in Oklahoma City is set for expansion

A free clinic operated by Good Shepherd Ministries in Oklahoma City soon will expand its hours after receiving a grant from the Butterfield Foundation.
by Carla Hinton Modified: February 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm •  Published: February 2, 2013

Eleven years ago, Katie Wedemeyer walked into Good Shepherd Ministries' free clinic unsure of what she would find.

Wedemeyer, 65, said she lives in an apartment building adjacent to the clinic and needed help with a sore tooth.

The Oklahoma City woman said she was uninsured and had no money to go to a doctor or dentist. She said she received the necessary treatment free of charge from kindhearted doctors and dentists at the clinic and found out the potentially lifesaving information that she suffered from hypertension.

“It helps me out a lot, and they treat me right,” she said of the clinic, housed at the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City complex, 1201 N Robinson.

Ellen Ingram, the clinic's director of development, said a new multimillion grant will enable the clinic to help others such as Wedemeyer who depend on the free medical and dental services provided there.

Ingram said the clinic recently received a $7.7 million grant from the Butterfield Memorial Foundation. She said the grant will allow the clinic to expand its facilities, increase its hours from six to full-time, provide additional medical and dental services and hire its first staff members.

Ingram said she expects medical appointments at the clinic to triple in the next three years — from about 2,000 to 6,000 patients. She said dental visits are expected to increase from about 175 a year to 2,500.

Meeting a need

No one could be happier about the coming expansion than Dr. Fred Loper, who as a University of Oklahoma medical student started working with the clinic when it was launched in 1977.

Loper, 60, said Good Shepherd Ministries was a church mission of First Baptist in Oklahoma City. He said he and the ministry's leader found out that a homeless man had his wound stitched by a bartender in a local tavern because he had no where else to go for treatment.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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