Trinity Free Clinic Receives Grant from Senior Fund


            In December, TFC gratefully accepted an award of $30,000 from the Central Indiana Senior Charles N. Smith Trust Fund.  The mission of this special fund is to support programs for low to moderate income older adults in Central Indiana with a focus on underserved or isolated populations.  Since its inception in 2005, the Senior Fund has awarded more than $7.6 million to senior focused not-for-profits and programs in order to assure that elderly in our community have the basics of life and can live the last chapters of their lives with a sense of dignity and worth.  The Senior Fund is administered by the Central Indiana Community Fund (CICF).

             Almost half of the senior citizens in Hamilton County live at or below 60% of the county’s median income.  At TFC, about 17% of our patients are 55 years old or older.  We see them frequently in our dental clinic because standard Medicare does not provide dental coverage.  We also treat seniors on the medical side of the Clinic with acute care as well as many of our specialty clinics, such as hypertension, physical therapy, podiatry and eye clinics.  In 2018, we treated 485 senior patients in 874 visits.

             The money we have just received from the Senior Fund will support our efforts to treat about 600 senior citizens over the 12-month grant period.  We are so thankful for this generous financial support from the CICF/Senior Fund and we are excited to be able to serve this special population of Hamilton County.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sheryl Ciulla

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Since 2013, Sheryl Ciulla has volunteered over 450 hours at the Trinity Free Clinic, a clinic dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of the uninsured and underinsured low income residents of Hamilton County. Before managing her husband’s medical practice for 15 years, Sheryl was an emergency nurse and nurse practitioner. She says her experience working in the emergency room has helped her with her duties at the Trinity Free Clinic.

Sheryl has two different roles at the clinic: manager and nurse. As a manager, she knows how the clinic runs and can answer any questions that arise during different shifts. However, Sheryl finds the most joy in her nursing role at the clinic because she likes taking care of and getting to know the patients. While Sheryl has volunteered at other organizations, she feels like Trinity is where she can make the most impact. She says most people would be shocked to find out how many people in Hamilton County are in need of the Trinity Free Clinic’s services. Because of that, Trinity fills a huge need and as a volunteer there, you can really make a difference in a someone’s life.

Trinity Free Clinic Celebrates Our Continuing Partnership with the Estridge Family Foundation

This January, Trinity Free Clinic will be receiving the third installment of a very generous $45,000 grant from the Estridge Family Foundation. Since 2013, Trinity has received over $150,000 in grant money from the foundation to help in providing the best care to their patients.

The Estridge Family Trust Foundation was established in 2007 by Carol and Paul Estridge Sr., their son Paul Estridge Jr. and their daughters Sherry McNutt and Vickie Short. The foundation was set-up to help support generations to come with a focus on fulfilling Christian values, especially for those who are less fortunate. Since being established, the foundation has granted millions of dollars to different charitable organizations in Indiana. Trinity Free Clinic is deeply grateful to have been blessed as one of those organizations.

The Estridge Family’s relationship with the Trinity Free Clinic goes beyond receiving grant money.  In 2011, to meet the growing needs of patients, the Trinity Free Clinic moved out of the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel convent and into the Matthew 25 Center. Prior to the move, Paul Estridge Jr. and his company helped develop the architecture plan for the clinic in the Matthew 25 Center.

The Trinity Free Clinic is so grateful for the Estridge Family Trust Foundation and their constant support of the clinic in so many ways. Trinity is devoted to serving the low-income, uninsured, or underinsured workers and their families in Hamilton County and we are able to do so because of foundations like The Estridge Family Trust Foundation.

Girl Scouts to the Rescue

Many people have heard of Girl Scouts but don’t necessarily know what the Girl Scouts are or how they help girls reach their full potential.  Even more interesting, how the Girls Scouts have helped Trinity Free Clinic recently. 

Juliette Gordon Low

Juliette Gordon Low

The Girl Scouts program was created by Juliette Gordon Low on March 12, 1912.   Juliette was living during the Progressive Era.  Women still could not vote and opportunities were heavily limited by bureaucracy.  Juliette was determined to create a program that brought women together through their individuality, strength, and desire to exercise their intellect. All these ideas led to their mission to build girls into courageous, confident, people of character who work to make the world a better place.  Now, over 100 years later, there are 2.6 million active scouts and more than 50 million alums.  The desire to spread the mission of the Girl Scouts has reached 92 countries!  Plus, their desire to make the world a better place has now reached Trinity Free Clinic.

On September 17th, a local Girl Scout troop decided to purchase and donate tooth brushes and tooth paste to the clinic.  The scouts handpicked the products and decided this clinic was who they felt was doing good for the community.  Not only did they go out of their way to help the clinic but they also decided to remain anonymous; keeping their main focus on giving back rather than gaining attention! We are so thankful for the donation.

You can find more information about Girl Scouts at

TFC is Taking Down Childhood Obesity

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “over the past two decades obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled among adolescents in the United States.” Trinity Free Clinic is working to make positive change regarding this health epidemic.


Creating awareness about what needs to change in diet is the first step to a healthier child. So, our volunteer Registered Dietician, Kristine Grider, created a user friendly, 10-question survey for our pediatric patients. After completing the survey, our dietician assess if the patient is practicing unhealthy eating behaviors that could lead to detrimental weight gain in the future. Severe weight gain can lead to heart disease, diabetes, shortened life span, and most definitely a lesser quality of life.

By completing and going over the survey with patients, it opens up a conversation between the dietician and the patient about what eating healthy really looks like. It gives both the dietician and the patient a chance to reflect on how the patients eating habits will change their future wellbeing, for better or worse. Even small changes in diet, sleep hygiene, and exercise can prevent childhood obesity.

Kristine Grider is in the process of developing an education packet, in English and Spanish, that will help spark conversations about healthy eating within families encouraging them to make the first step to a better life.

Accomplishing Our Values through Vision

Sweet-Obenauf is a vision care company that has been leading the eye care field in the Fishers area since 1996. Their mission to the people of Fishers is to, “provide the best eye care services possible, [by] our doctors [using] only the most advanced, state-of-the-art diagnostic technology and eye care products available. We are committed to educating our patients and providing personalized eye care services…”  On Wednesday, September 19th Sweet-Obenauf Eye Care saw 12 Trinity Free Clinic patients.  The staff have decided to donate their time to connect with the TFC patients as well as provide free glasses for each person.

For more information about Swee-Obenauf, visit


Lunch and Learn


           At Trinity Free Clinic, we are devoted to our mission statement.  Our goal is to, “…provide quality free medical, dental, and health services with dignity and respect to the uninsured, underinsured, and low income residents of Hamilton County through a professional and dedicated staff and volunteers”.  We want people like you to spread the word about what we do here.  Come to our monthly luncheon to learn everything you need to know to start helping Hamilton County and the neighbors around you.

See you there!

TFC Saves a Patient from Amputation


           Last Monday morning a woman came to Trinity Free Clinic complaining of pain in her ankle. Her ankle was clearly injured and after examining her further, it was decided that she not only had injured her ankle but had an infection that had started in her ankle and was spreading up her leg.

           Before coming to Trinity Free Clinic, the patient was urgently trying to find medication to calm her infection and sooth her pain but couldn’t afford to go to a doctor or pay for a prescription. The cheapest option available to her was to get medication from a veterinarian. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “…many of the drugs used in veterinary medicine are the same as those used in people”. So what was the problem? Even though the ingredients in drugs for animals are often the same as those for humans, there are other factors that set apart animal’s medications from human’s medications. These include differences in dosage, inactive ingredients used, and the proportions of inactive ingredients to active ingredients. Additionally, the veterinarian couldn’t protect the patient against any negative drug interactions between her current medications and the new one being given to her. Any of these reasons could have caused her infection especially when paired with a lack of instruction on how to care for her foot and ankle.

           After finding Trinity Free Clinic and getting examined by our physicians, the patient was immediately sent to the ER. There she was told that if she had waited any longer to find adequate help, her foot would have been amputated. Luckily, Trinity Free Clinic was able to help her get the care and support she needed. Plus, her foot is set for a full recovery!

TFC Would Like to Express Its Gratitude to the Crosser Family Foundation

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The Staff and Volunteers of the Trinity Free Clinic are grateful to the Crosser Family Foundation for including us as one of their beneficiaries with a $2,500 grant.  This grant will provide full medical and dental services at TFC to 25 Hamilton County children from low income families. 

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The Crosser Family Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of youth and their families in the communities that they live by providing them with everyday needs and opportunities to help them achieve a bright future. 

Janet R. Crosser and the late Richard R. Crosser established the Foundation in 2001. Over the years, the Foundation has provided grants totaling over $3 million to community groups, organizations and businesses focused on providing services to enrich the lives of youth and their families in local communities.

You can learn more about the Crosser Family Foundation here:

Partner Spotlight: St. Vincent

“St. Vincent and the Trinity Free Clinic share a common mission: to deliver care to those who need it, regardless of personal means. That's why we have worked together for 15 years to treat the most vulnerable in our community,” said Dina Ferchmin, Executive Director, Trinity Free Clinic. “Not only is St. Vincent an important contributor to our work, but they also assist us daily in connecting patients with primary care and specialty resources which our patients would otherwise not be able to access or afford.  St. Vincent has helped us overcome numerous obstacles over the years to ensure that the uninsured and underinsured working poor of Hamilton County are cared for.  We are extremely grateful for their generous support.”

Hamilton County is among the nation’s most affluent and ranks first in Indiana in terms of average household income, yet pockets of poverty persist in the community. According to the United Way of Central Indiana, one in five Hamilton County families struggle to make ends meet.

St. Vincent's commitment to the working poor of Hamilton County cannot be better demonstrated than in their unfailing support of our patients.  St. Vincent is not only our largest grantor, but they also generously accept about 90% of our patient referrals.  In 2015 alone, we referred nearly 500 patients that required more care than we could offer at the clinic to St. Vincent.  St. Vincent Primary Care provided a place where our patients could receive the personal, individualized care they desperately needed at an affordable reduced rate.

In addition to their sustaining support for both Trinity Free Clinic and our patients, St. Vincent has supported the clinic in more targeted ways as well.  For example, the St. Vincent Carmel emergency room director, Steve Baunach, came in November of 2014 to train our staff about Ebola containment procedures so that we would be prepared in case we had a patient walk in with suspicious symptoms.

One of our most important functions for Hamilton County families is to provide a resource for the pediatric vaccinations that allow children to start school in the fall.  We are able to provide those vaccinations free of cost to low-income families through our participation in the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC).  One of the requirements for participating in VFC is that we must have an emergency back-up storage facility for our stock of vaccines.  St. Vincent Carmel Hospital's partnership makes that possible by allowing us to store our vaccines in their pharmacy facility in case of a power outage or failure of our vaccine refrigerator.

Fortunately, St. Vincent's care for the children of Hamilton County doesn't stop with vaccinations.  We were fortunate enough to have St. Vincent co-sponsor our Car Seat Clinic with Franciscan St. Francis Health, with St. Vincent funding car seats for 51 children.

As part of their ongoing commitment to women's health St. Vincent also provides quarterly mammogram screenings for our Women's Clinic patients with their mobile unit.  This is a vital service for our patients in the Women's Clinic because it provides a unique opportunity for them to receive breast cancer screening that would otherwise be out of reach for them financially.

Finally, St. Vincent has been the title sponsor of our spring fundraising gala for several years.  Fundraisers provide about 35% of the operating budget for the Trinity Free Clinic, and support of the Healing Hands Gala provides a real, tangible support for the services we provide for our patients every day.

“St. Vincent is dedicated to providing spiritually centered, holistic care that sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities, and we are proud to partner with Trinity Free Clinic to fulfill this mission in Hamilton County,” said Janette Helm, Director of Mission Integration, St. Vincent. “We applaud Trinity Free Clinic for its commitment to serving all persons, with special attention to those who are struggling.”

Truly, our mission could not be achieved without the generosity of St. Vincent--from financial support to the support of our patients through referrals.  The patients, volunteers, staff, and board of the Trinity Free Clinic are very grateful for St. Vincent's continued partnership and generosity.

About St.Vincent
St.Vincent is a nonprofit, spiritually-centered health system and a member of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and not-for-profit health system.  St.Vincent is one of Indiana’s largest employers with 22 health ministries serving 57 counties in Central and Southern Indiana.  The 133-year-old health system delivers high quality, compassionate care in service areas such as cardiovascular, womens, childrens, neurosciences, cancer care, orthopedics, bariatrics, primary care, emergency medicine, imaging, general surgery and long-term acute care.  For more information, visit

About Ascension
Ascension ( is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2015, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Approximately 160,000 associates and 36,000 aligned providers serve in 2,000 sites of care – including 137 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to healthcare delivery, Ascension subsidiaries provide a variety of services and solutions including physician practice management, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineerin, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

TFC Kicks off Brighter Smiles Campaign

At the Trinity Free Clinic, dental visits account for 40% of our total patient visits.  Since we are the only free dental clinic in Hamilton County, our dental services are an irreplaceable and vital resource to the uninsured and under-insured residents of Hamilton County.  What if we were suddenly unable to care for our patients?

That is the reality the clinic is facing regarding our panoramic x-ray machine.  Our current panoramic x-ray machine still works, but because of its age, parts are no longer available.  We're afraid that our old machine will stop working during one of our busy Saturday morning clinics, and we will not be able to provide care to our patients.

We can purchase a new Planmeca ProMax 2d machine for $50,000 or a used one for about $20,000.  Not only will this machine allow us to image patients for the next 5-10 years, but the images will be significantly better and expose our patients to dramatically less radiation than with our current technology.  To help us raise funds to purchase this vital piece of equipment, we are initiating the Brighter Smiles crowd sourcing campaign.  We are hoping to raise sufficient funds to cover the purchase of the new panoramic x-ray machine by October 17, 2015.  If you would like to learn more about the Brighter Smiles campaign or you would like to donate to help us give our patients "brighter smiles", please go to