Alan Keister, B.A. ’92, & Vicki Keister, B.A. ’92

Pro Texana Medal of Service

Alan Keister, B.A. ’92, & Vicki Keister, B.A. ’92
Alan Keister, B.A. ’92, & Vicki Keister, B.A. ’92

What started in an 1,800-square-foot house with a single central room partitioned with curtains to form four patient examination “rooms” has grown in eight and a half years into a ministry that now easily fills a 20,000 square-foot building.

Heal the City is a free clinic that serves the uninsured of Amarillo, Texas, connecting these vulnerable individuals to healthcare resources that would otherwise be inaccessible. The mission of the clinic is simple but has immense impact: To provide high-quality healthcare to the uninsured and to communicate the love of Christ to patients, volunteers and employees.

In 2013, Alan began offering free health screenings in local schools. The overwhelming response to the screenings demonstrated that members of the community were suffering a lack of access to healthcare and were primarily using the only source of care available to them at the time: the emergency room. That was when Heal the City was established to offer acute care to patients on Monday nights in a house owned by Next Generation Church.

The lack of ongoing care for most patients revealed a need for the clinic to offer even more extensive services. 

“How can we treat these people without knowing what their labs look like?” Vicki said. “So we added a Thursday lab review, and eventually, we realized we need to have more preventative care, and how can you do that without taking care of them as a doctor might in his office? So it expanded to our wellness program, which we call Shalom, which means wholeness. We really wanted to be able to give them everything they needed, even though they had no resources.”

Now, Heal the City provides patients access to dentistry, podiatry, optometry, nutrition services, a workout facility, referral to a specialist and a pharmacy. But whole-person care extends beyond physical needs, and the clinic often addresses needs like transportation or access to healthy food sources, as well.

Alan and Vicki met at Baylor as students. They both earned their bachelor of arts in biology. Alan went on to obtain his doctor of medicine from Southwestern Medical School and Vicki her master of physical therapy from Texas Women’s University. 

They both found their experiences at Baylor foundational to developing not only knowledge and skills that would serve them in their careers, but also how their Christian faith could inform that. 

“I feel like, at Baylor, it’s when we learned who we are,” Vicki said. “As a student, you’re learning academically, obviously, but you really come to terms with what your spirituality is for you.” Vicki noted especially the opportunities to develop through “having experiences with professors who poured into us, and through the local church, and opportunities to learn about service” as indispensable to their Baylor education. 

Now, they are on the other side of the equation, pouring into Baylor students who intern at Heal the City.

Alan recognized that people are attracted to studying medicine for a lot of different reasons, “but to find people that are really called and want to do it because they feel like they’re serving others for the glory of God, that’s something that I think Baylor has done a really good job of instilling in students, and so we get to foster that in a real-world environment for them.”

The Keisters live out this example of using their unique skills and knowledge to serve their neighbors. 

“If we’re going to be known as making an impact,” Alan said, “I think it’s knowing that we make an impact that’s acting out of our giftings to serve others for the glory God. Love God, love others, that’s pretty simple, right?”