Free Clinic to get makeover this weekend

(Des Moines, IA) – More than 200 volunteers will band together in Des Moines this week, donating time and supplies for a complete renovation of the Margaret Cramer Clinic, a member of the Free Clinics of Iowa network.
“The Margaret Cramer Clinic is a free medical clinic that began in 1996 in the basement of First Assembly of God Church at 2725 Merle Hay Road. Through a collaborative effort between the church and Free Clinics of Iowa, the clinic provides basic primary healthcare services to the uninsured and underinsured within the community,” explained Wendy Gray, executive director of the Free Clinics of Iowa.
The clinic is open Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. and is staffed entirely by volunteer health care workers. Walk-in patients are treated for illness and minor injuries and provided with immunizations, school and employment physicals, lead testing, chronic disease management and depression treatment. In 2006, the clinic had 630 patient visits. In addition to helping patients, the volunteering staff set up and take down the clinic each week.
After eleven years of service, it’s time for the clinic to get it’s own workup and treatment. Beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, the clinic will undergo a complete makeover and become a permanent part of the church. The entire makeover is scheduled to be completed by Sunday at 6 p.m.
This huge undertaking – expected to cost $25,000 – was organized by The Iowa Clinic Healthcare Foundation. The Foundation, a not-for-profit branch of The Iowa Clinic, is dedicated to building a healthy community through outreach. In 2005 they renovated the Mae E. Davis Free Medical Clinic in West Des Moines, another member of the Free Clinics of Iowa network.
For this project, Ryan Companies is handling the general contracting and Allied Construction Services, American TV and Appliances, Artistic Waste Services, the Baker Group, Beisser Lumber, Commonwealth Electric of the Midwest, Olympic Wall Systems, Sunderland Brothers Company, Tripletts and United Rentals are also providing manpower, services and materials.
“This opportunity provided by the Iowa Clinic Healthcare Foundation enables the Margaret Cramer Clinic to make the vital transition from a mobile to permanent component of the First Assembly of God Church,” Gray said. “With dedicated and additional space for the free clinic, more patients will be seen with greater efficiency and the volunteer burden of setting up and taking down will be alleviated.”
The Free Clinics of Iowa (FCI) system includes 18 clinics around the state, mostly in churches and community centers. The FCI central office is located at Des Moines University, 3200 Grand Ave. A donor-supported, not-for-profit organization, the goal is to facilitate the initiation, operation and collaboration of free medical clinics around the state.
To get involved with the makeover, call Amy Hilmes at the Iowa Clinic at 515.241.4484. To learn more about the Free Clinics of Iowa, visit

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