Residents of the southern Dallas area were once three times as likely to die from diabetes-related complications as those in Dallas County overall. “We were seeing way too many patients in those ZIP codes coming in to the ER,” said Joel Allison, CEO of Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health.
The trends prompted Allison to advocate for the creation of the institute, working with the Southern Sector Health Initiative, the city of Dallas and Baylor to establish the $15 million facility designed to improve health outcomes among this vulnerable population. It opened in 2010.
Allison, one of four honorable mentions for Modern Healthcare's 2013 Community Leadership Award, saw the need in his community—which he refers to as an “opportunity.” But the impact of his volunteerism has extended far beyond Texas.
The 65-year-old was instrumental in establishing Baylor's Faith in Action Initiatives, which provides global disaster relief; financial sponsorships for medical missions; and medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics around the world, including 70 free-access clinics in Dallas-Fort Worth. The organization sent hospital beds, stretchers and exam tables to South Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world; hygiene bags to Joplin, Mo., seven days after a tornado destroyed much of the town in 2011; and 2,000 water filters to Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Allison initially took some money from the Baylor budget in 2010 to start the office, which generates no revenue. Since then, the group has garnered donations and grants that, in fiscal 2012, allowed it to donate more than $130,000 worth of medical supplies and equipment and sponsor 43 Baylor professionals on international missions.