American Family Care HistoryNovember 18, 2009
The concept on which American Family Care was founded traces its roots to a tragic train accident in 1949. In October 1949, Dr. Bruce Irwin's mother was pregnant with the fifth of her six children when her husband lost both of his legs in a train accident in Atmore, Alabama. Dr. Irwin grew up in a home that was short on many of today's standard household items - no phone, television, or family car- but it waslong on dedication and the commitment to a strong work ethic that stressed self reliance.
With his mother as the family's primary provider, Irwin's first job was at six years old shining shoes in a barber shop. His school day began every morning after wheeling his father to the shoe shop where he worked in a limited capacity. Irwin's childhood revolved around the doctors, nurses, and hospitals that cared for his father and his experiences and exposure to the industry convinced him that his own future lay in health care. A scholarship to Birmingham-Southern College was followed by Medical School at University of Alabama at Birmingham with residency there and at the University of South Alabama. He turned this childhood adversity into a reality when he founded American Family Care in 1982.
After working as an emergency room physician for three years in the late '70s and '80s, he discovered that there was a huge gap in the our healthcare delivery system. He envisioned a mini-clinic designed, equipped and staffed to provide comprehensive family health care and minor emergency treatment at a reasonable cost. This was a radical concept in the 1980s, which had not been practiced anywhere in the south and viewed with skepticism by the traditional medical community.
He did not let others views stop him from accomplishing his vision because his mother had raised him not to abandon an idea simply because it was unconventional. He put together a business plan, arranged financing and in June 1982, he opened the first American Family Care Medical Facility on Highway 31 in Hoover, Alabama. Since that time, the company has grown to over twenty free standing clinics across the state of Alabama.
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