Health Outreach History of the DCMSAF

Caring for the Community in Practice for Over 100 Years

An almost decade-by-decade account of the healthcare-related education and service the Alliance has provided over the last century follows. Pull up a chair and read about it.

On May 4, 1917, a group of 17 doctors’ wives met to discuss a proposal by Mrs. John O. McReynolds to form a women’s auxiliary to the Dallas County Medical Society– the first of its kind in the country. With the nations entry into WW1 and increasing needs of the Red Cross, Mrs. McReynolds saw that there were many opportunities for year-round volunteering including promoting better hygiene, nutrition and home safety.  The aim of the auxiliary was to enter Red Cross work and offer special services to the Dallas County Medical Society.

At this first meeting a decision was made to devote the first month’s work to aid the Red Cross in Dallas.  Four instruction class rooms were equipped at the teaching center at the Red Cross headquarters in the Southland Hotel.

In the 1930s, lecture series were conducted to reach as many people as possible. A list of lecture subjects was sent to most organizations in the city and, upon request, the DCMSA would coordinate physicians, city and county health department members and laymen prominent in their fields to speak.

Eighty lectures were booked in 1938 alone. Subjects for talks were allergy, cancer, child psychology, common diseases, diabetics, foods, headaches, mental hygiene, orthopedics, skin diseases, cosmetics and tuberculosis to name a few.

Pamphlets were distributed in the out patient departments of various hospitals to teach health to the less fortunate. The pamphlet listed lectures for expectant mothers, child welfare, and general health while also discussing useful health hints.

The 1950s

was the beginning of the Edith Cavell Nursing Scholarship program that provides financial aid to nursing students in Dallas County and still does to this day.

The lecture series from the 1930s was still in full swing but the Alliance added to their community service by creating a parentcraft course for expectant mothers and fathers, which the Alliance funded and held at the Dallas Health museum. DCMSA members also sat on the museum council.

A gift was given to Woodlawn Hospital each year, which had included tems such as metal trays, furniture, stair liners, etc…

The Alliance provided books for Red Cross courses, Home Nursing and First Aid, taught in West Dallas.
The Opportunity House and Thomas Edison School were gifted clothing, shoes, cod-liver oil, books, transportation to doctors’ offices for children that needed care and clerical assistance for keeping track of children’s health progress.

Two health education films were purchased and made available for showing in grade schools throughout Dallas County.
A nurse recruitment program was conducted in area high schools.

Financial aid was made available to medical students and doctors’ widows.

In the 1960s,

Free health booklets were distributed through schools, churches, organizations and house calls. The booklets dealt with health and safety, beginning with a newborn continuing to a teenager and the aged. It was estimated that 100,000 booklets per year were handed out.

A wallet sized health record card was also provided so a person could carry vital information including immunizations, drug allergies, blood type and physician’s name.

The health education films from the 1050s were also continuing to be shown year-round through PTA and other civic groups.

The 1980s

saw the beginning of HealthCheck, a free health fair that took over NorthPark Center for a weekend every February. By the end of HealthCheck in 1999, it was estimated that over 100,000 people were in attendance each year serving well over a million people in its 16-year run. Physicians donated their time for free screenings and checks, area hospitals contributed money and manpower, radio and TV stations gave free airtime for promoting the event. There were three entertainment stages for attendees to enjoy.


The 1990s

saw the expansion of HealthCheck to satellite locations so more areas of Dallas could be served. Charles Rice Learning Center, Lincoln High School and Woodrow Wilson High School saw their schools transformed into mini health fairs over this decade.

The Alliance also assisted with the Latino Wellness Fair. The Alliance was a supporter of the Visiting Nurses Association, the Agape Clinic, Edna Gladney Center and others.

The New Century

In 2012, the DCMSA partnered with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for The Amazing Pace – a bike ride for a cause that raised over $18,000 for diabetes research and Alliance beneficiaries.

For the last 11 years, a back-to-school health fair has been held in August providing sports physicals and vaccines to low income families. The event is a collaborative effort between the Church of the Incarnation, DCMSA, North Dallas Shared Ministries, Dallas Police Department, Caring for Children Foundation, and the Dental School. The Alliance provides doctors and nurses for physicals and eye exams. DCMSA members also help staff the event.

Each Spring at North Dallas High School, the Alliance volunteers nurses, doctors and lay helpers several days of sports physicals for underprivileged students. Church of the Incarnation organizes the event. Doctors, nurses and members volunteer their time to give athletes, band members and cheerleaders the opportunity to participate in sports. In May 2019, approximately 600 people attended and 300 vaccines and over 100 sports physicals were administered.

The New Century brought Hard Hats for Little Heads. In conjunction with the Texas Medical Association Alliance (TMAA), bike helmets are donated to deserving children of various organizations around the state. Alliance members donate their time to fit the helmets properly, and the organization purchases the hats through TMAA.

Edith Cavell Nursing Scholarship has continued to assist outstanding nursing students attending Dallas County nursing schools. Since its inception in 1954, ECNSF has awarded almost $700,000.