The idea for Bethesda was born in 1999 when Dr. Michael Massar, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, received a call from a local physician who was interested in setting up a community clinic at the church.
Dr. Massar was inspired to help and soon reached out to other clergy in the area to see if they were interested in a more ambitious idea–a multi-congregation, shared health ministry. Years earlier, a parishioner named Porter Skidmore had donated an 11,000-square-foot building to First Baptist, and this could serve as the home of the ministry. A steering committee and board were formed, and they agreed to move forward as quickly as possible by renovating a 3,000-square-foot area in the Skidmore building. Donations of furniture, lab equipment, supplies and money poured in, and Bethesda opened its doors on September 6, 2003. Two doctors and four nurses were on duty. Thanks to the generosity of early contributors and a sizable gift from an anonymous donor, remodeling continued and the clinic expanded its capacity dramatically. By the end of 2004, the clinic had logged nearly 4,800 patient visits.
Large scale remodeling of the rest of the building was finished in January 2004, and the clinic began expanding its services beyond primary care services to include cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, podiatry, orthopedics, psychology, dentistry, physical therapy, ophthalmology, endocrinology, rheumatology, pulmonary, neurology, nephrology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, EKG, diabetes, radiology and lab work.
In 2015 the clinic once again underwent large scale remodeling. The David F. Nichols, DDS dental clinic came into being and expanded dentistry capacity greatly with the addition of two dental chairs and a hygienist chair for a total of 5 dental spaces. The Harold B. Cameron, MD medical clinic was formed and several additional exam room spaces were created to increase our capacity for primary care patients and some specialty visits – including a staff gynecologist available for Women’s health services. More administrative office space was added as well by taking in the former front porch.
Increased accessibility to care for patients in need of mental health services was expanded in 2019 with the addition of an on-site counselor who sees patients each week.
In 2020 Bethesda will celebrate 17 years of successful operation. Since its inception, the clinic has served more than 11,000 patients and completed more than 125,000 patient visits.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Gifts from donors like you enable hardworking, low-income people in the Smith County area to have access to affordable health care. You can DONATE TODAY from this website, send a check made out to "Bethesda Health Clinic" to 409 W. Ferguson St., Tyler, TX 75702, or by emailing Diane Thomason at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about other options.
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JOIN THE BETHESDA ALLIANCE
The purpose of the Bethesda Alliance is to support and promote the Bethesda Health Clinic of Tyler, Texas by functioning as a fundraising and volunteer service group.
Yearly membership for the Alliance is only $25 a year or $250 for a lifetime membership. Mail your check (made out to Bethesda Alliance) to: Bethesda Alliance, 409 W. Ferguson St., Tyler, TX 75702.
To become a member, contact the Alliance president by emailing email@example.com.
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PLEASE DONATE TODAY
Bethesda Health Clinic is a 100% community funded ministry.