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Sheep Inc. Health Care Clinic 'Just Looking To Help People'
By Lois Thomson

When you hear about Sheep Inc. Health Care Center, and the premise behind it, your first question might be, why? The Center is a free medical clinic open one night each week to anyone who doesn't have health insurance. It was founded by the Monroeville Assembly of God as part of the church's Sheep Inc. outreach, and Dr. Robert Beasley, a member of the Church, serves as medical director.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Beasley has had a family practice with Premier Medical Associates in Penn Hills, and he opened this clinic about a year ago. And the question is, why would a physician who works long hours want to seek more work by serving at a clinic one night a week? And especially to see patients for free? To know the answers, you have to know more about Dr. Beasley.

"We're just looking to help people," he said. "It's something I've always wanted to do, it's been on my heart for a long time. A lot of people can't afford insurance - maybe kids just out of college or people who lost their jobs - so they go without it. I think we need to help people who can't help themselves at certain points in their lives."

The clinic is held in the Sunday School rooms of the church, but Dr. Beasley said they need more room. "Right now we're like a mobile clinic, we bring our stuff in and tear it all down, because the church uses the classrooms for other things throughout the week. So we're looking to find someplace that's a bit more permanent, where we can leave all of our stuff in place."

Patient numbers have increased from one or two per night to 12 to 15 now, and staff numbers have risen to more than 50 volunteers, including five or six physicians, and nurses. "We're trying to recruit more physicians. The clinic should probably go to two nights a week, but before we can do that we need more physician volunteers."

Dr. Beasley said patients come in for a variety of reasons, whether because they're sick or maybe need a physical exam for a job. "We have diabetics who come in who can't afford basic medicine, and we try to provide them with a glucometer to check their sugar, to take better care of themselves. And the nurses are able to give them diets." He said the church has a budget for prescriptions, and the clinic tries to offer free medicine using the $4 lists available from Target and Giant Eagle.

So why does Dr. Beasley do this? "My belief is that the Bible commands us to do this, but it's gratifying when people say, 'Hey, I don't know what I would have done if you weren't here tonight.' When you hear that, it keeps you going. Because you realize a lot of people aren't as fortunate as you are, and if you can keep them going for a little bit with what you can give them, it's well worth it."

Now you understand Sheep Inc. Health Care Center.

For more information, or if you would like to volunteer at or make a donation to Sheep Inc. Health Care Center, call (412) 856-7900.

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