Doctors often have a full schedule when it comes to patients at their regular practice, but some still find time to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Jeffrey Stamp, a family-practice doctor at Cabot Medical Care Clinic, finds time after hours to work at a free clinic and and to help out at Beyond Boundaries, a hippotherapy center run by his wife, Beth.
Stamp is originally from Pittsburgh, and his move to Arkansas revolved around a career he had before medical school. Stamp earned a degree in economics from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, but he said he was not very focused on what he wanted to do with his degree after graduation.
“I went [to college] to play baseball,” he said. “I wasn’t too focused on academics, and I started flying for the Air Force.”
Stamp’s Air Force career brought him to Little Rock, and by the time he left the military, he and his family had roots in Arkansas that had started to grow, so they made the decision to stay.
Stamp got out of the Air Force after 12 years as a navigator for C-130s. He knew he wanted to go back to school, but he was not sure exactly what he wanted to do.
“Initially, when I started taking classes, I started with science classes and realized that this is what I should have done from the beginning,” he said.
The science classes opened his eyes to the idea of going to medical school. He took a couple years to get some of his prerequisites in order, since his first degree was in economics, and he started started medical school in 1995. Even after Stamp got off active duty, he stayed and flew with the Air Guard until his flying requirements began to conflict with his medical-school requirements.
He graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1999, then completed his residency in Pine Bluff before starting at Cabot Medical Care Clinic in 2002.
Stamp said he decided to go into family practice because it is one of the few specialties where doctors get a lot of direct patient contact and because he knows a little about a lot of different ailments and situations instead of having a deep knowledge about one specific area.
“I know about everything from pimples to pregnancy to broken bones, so it’s a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things,” he said. “I started to get bored doing rotations in medical school. I would think, ‘This is what they do day after day after day?’”
The breadth of Stamp’s medical knowledge contributes to one of his after-hours volunteer jobs. He and his associate, Jason Merrick, started the Lonoke County Christian Clinic. Stamp, Merrick, local dentists and other volunteers see patients every-other Thursday night.
The clinic was initially set up to see Lonoke County residents who were living at 200 percent below the poverty level, but with the Affordable Care Act, more residents have insurance and do not need to utilize the free clinic. Stamp said the patient load has decreased significantly, but the cases they see are now far worse than in the past.
“Before, we had some people who [had] temporarily lost their insurance, so they had been fairly well taken care of,” he said. “Now, we see the really bad situations that are a lot more complicated.”
The clinic is open throughout the week for prescription refills, and pharmaceutical companies have worked with the clinic to get medicine for the patients.
Stamp said the community embraced the idea of a free clinic when he and Merrick started planning it. The city gave them the old city gym for $1, and the doctors renovated the building for their purposes.
“We estimate we did about $1 million worth of work for about $100,000. So much was donated, and it really showed the generosity of the community,” he said.
“We had to take out a small loan to cover what wasn’t donated, but even with that, the bank has been generous, and we have just had to pay on the interest.”
When he is not working at Cabot Medical Care Clinic or volunteering at Lonoke County Christian Clinic, Stamp might be with his wife, Beth, moving bales of hay or working on the finances at Beyond Boundaries, an equine-assisted therapy center in Ward.
“I’m on the board, and because of my background in finance, I do all of their finances,” he said. “I’m also the gopher. I do anything from trimming hedges to cleaning up horse poop.”
Beyond Boundaries is a nonprofit entity that provides physical, occupational and speech therapy for children with disabilities, using the horse as a tool. The nonprofit has nine horses they use, and several certified therapists work with the patients with the aim of improving their lives in various ways.
“It’s amazing what changes you can see in a kid from being on a horse,” Stamp said. “Autistic kids who are completely nonfunctional will light up.”
Stamp said Beyond Boundaries operates on a shoestring budget, but two major fundraisers each year help keep the organization up and running. The Boot Scootin’ 5K was held in April, and the Mane Event fundraiser, featuring live and silent auctions, is usually held in October.
Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.