Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee celebrated with Dr. Tom Kim yesterday for his community service. Dr. Kim has advocated for the medically underserved in our community for 30 years. His opening remarks displayed his compassion as he shared a scripture where Jesus instructs us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” He was honored by renaming the Free Medical Clinic of America to The Kim Health Center. Many donors, community leaders, and recipients of services were present for the event.
Mayors Indya Kincannon and Glenn Jacobs expressed their appreciation for Dr. Kim’s vision and medical care provided over the years. Mayor Kincannon described him best as a “beacon of hope in the community.” Congressman Tim Burchett’s office presented Dr. Kim with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.
Dr. Keith Gray, Chief Medical Officer at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, and a key leader in the growth of the clinic over the past three years shared the clinic’s history and expressed his appreciation to the many donors who made this facility a reality. The dental offices, donning state-of-the-art equipment and an in-house lab, opened last year. He also introduced the new Executive Director, Erica Lyon, who has been a valuable addition to the clinic and its continued growth.
The words inscribed on a plaque at the entrance to the clinic describe Dr. Kim best, “In response to the command of Jesus Christ that “whatever you do for the least of these of mine, you do for me.” Dr. Tom Kim has dedicated his life to the medically underserved. An immigrant from North Korea, Dr. Kim came to the United States during the Korean War. He moved to Knoxville, in 1979, with the goal of “repaying his debt to America for the gift of a new life.” He began providing free medical care to the working uninsured in 1993, practicing alone in Knoxville for twelve years and in Briceville for the past three years.
While serving his mission to provide healthcare to those most in need, his vision grew as he saw increasing opportunities. With this conviction, he approached the Baptist Health System Foundation to help lay the groundwork for the many funding, governance, and material needs of this expanded mission, which the Foundation and Baptist Health System embraced. In February 2005, he invited interested people to a forum hosted at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church to involve the community’s support to expand this ministry.
The Free Medical Clinic of America formally opened on August 1, 2005. The current site of the clinic was renovated, equipment donated, funding for operations secured, and physicians and volunteers enlisted. The clinic has surpassed all expectations, treating 1800 patients in its first year of operation. ”
Well done, good and faithful servant!
Trinity is honored to partner with The Kim Health Center. Keep up the excellent work!