Engage Oklahoma


The Engage Free Clinic Rural Health Care Initiative



As a 100% volunteer, community and individually supported primary care free clinic and pharmacy, we have provided over $500,000 worth of medical care and over 5,000 prescriptions FREE to uninsured working patients in the rural Shawnee, OK area for just under $30,000 in total expenses since 2019. As a faith-based organization, we do it because it's our calling. We just don't provide medical care, we change lives!

Now, we are excited to embark on a new journey in 2024 that we feel will change free health care in rural Oklahoma.

Overall, healthcare has suffered the last few years... heavier patient loads, throughout and post-pandemic, coupled with shortages in the medical fields have produced severe challenges for rural health care.

According to the Oklahoma Farm Bureau (2023) "Rural Oklahoma, which accounts for 34% of the state’s population, has shown a cumulative death rate of 9.6% compared to a rate of 8.78% in urban Oklahoma. Unfortunately, rural communities have also seen growing hospital closures with 128 rural hospitals in America shuttering in the last decade.

Before COVID-19, rural communities nationwide saw an average mortality rate increase of 6% following a rural hospital closure, based on data from the National Bureau of Economic Research."

For rural free clinics, a classic problem has become worse; budgets are tight, volunteers are few, new technology can be financially out of reach and needs are generally higher. This, along with other factors, has resulted in many traditional faith-based free clinics closing when they're needed the most, especially in rural areas. A new approach is needed.

As the Engage Clinic prepares for our 5th anniversary in January of 2024, we considered our own vision for the next five years. Because of other clinic closures our area of service has expanded to parts of five counties, creating many new challenges. Our own medical staff has struggled in this new environment to provide the same traditional care we always have.

So as we considered our next five years, we have created a new free clinic model that integrates cutting edge technology in a necessary and purposeful way customized for rural free clinics. This plan has generated interest in the faith based healthcare community as a way forward in rural free healthcare.

So in January, 2024 we are taking simple steps to initiate the plan

1) We will keep our primary clinic and pharmacy with some specific, basic telemedicine upgrades. This will connect us with our satellites and our pharmacy for mail order prescriptions.  We have contracted with an electronic health records company that will charge us nothing as we transition, then after 50 patients will charge a basic affordable rate for our group of doctors and practitioners.

2) We will open a satellite clinic in Holdenville, OK with a provider and nurse on site and use mail order pharmacy services from our primary clinic to extend services to the area, increasing our ability to serve a rural area with our streamlined clinic model using a church or other group location.

3) Next, we will open a pop up 3rd style of satellite clinic in Chandler, OK using a nurse, telemedicine equipment and physician services via telemedicine to provide a completely mobile option. Prescriptions will be provided by mail from our primary pharmacy. This style of clinic will then be available to come and go giving us maximum flexibility to go to locations where we are needed without permanently committing resources, to be an efficient way to get the services to those needing it the most.

We've done meticulous planning when it comes to cost. By using just a few of the medical technology upgrades combined with some common electronics, we feel we have created an effective way to connect urban resources and volunteers to rural areas with the flexibility needed to go to the areas we could not reach before without spending thousands of dollars setting up multiple clinics.

This will change the way we practice medicine in 2024. With our clinics connected, providers can spread the load and resources can go to the most underserved areas as needed for maximum flexibility. Specialists can volunteer from any where state wide as needed, via telemedicine, letting them see patients they were previously unable to see. Urban resources can be effectively and economically deployed to rural areas. New technology will become available such as electronic stethoscopes that can detect cardiac conditions in real time, allowing providers to begin better treatments faster instead of making assumptions while waiting on testing.

We will also implement other components such as a better intentional care program for our medical volunteers and simple technology to enhance in sharing the Gospel, medical, lifestyle and social care through our own You tube channel.

We are connecting volunteers with patients who need them. As of the Fall of 2023 we have also began a partnership with Oklahoma Baptist University Nursing School as a place for their students to get clinical training in an experienced, free clinic environment. We are working on other exciting opportunities! And we're taking this a step further.

We've already had interest and inquiries from other groups, so, as we get everything up and running over the next few months, we will also share our new model here in a downloadable, detailed clinic plan from how to set up a free clinic clear down to equipment lists to get started. We feel this is important. We want churches and other groups to know they can also fill the void in their own communities with confidence. We want them to see our model in action and will even will visit other clinics, as we are able, to share what we are doing. We want to see the rural free clinic system rebuilt. We want to heal people. As a faith based entity, we feel this is our calling to help everyone.

This keeps with our founding principals of giving community volunteers a way to efficiently change lives as a group, with, supporters who want to see their support do the most that it can, as well as creating a solution when we see the need for a better way, then sharing that solution with other groups also wanting to make a difference! 

There are many ways to get involved both now and over the next year as we develop. We need prayer and some extra financial support to help set up our initial satellites as quickly as possible so we can begin serving real needs and demonstrate the model to others who are already interested.  Check here on our Action Page to see ways you can help. Or, sign up for our email newsletter or text alerts to get the latest information during this incredible time in our clinic. We want to rebuild the rural free clinic network in Oklahoma and anywhere else that could use our example!


Frank Kelly

Engage Volunteer and Consultant