ECHO Clinic’s Bell retires after long career of service

After 17 years of selfless service, Dr. Dan Bell, co-founder of the Eureka Christian Health Outreach (ECHO) clinic, bids farewell to Boston Mountain Rural Health Center.

Dr. Bell’s retirement marks the end of an era for the clinic, which has become a cornerstone of community health in Eureka Springs.

ECHO’s journey began in February 2005 when members of the First United Methodist Church of Eureka Springs gathered to brainstorm ways to enhance their community outreach. Among the ideas proposed was the provision of a regular free meal for locals in need. However, a seasoned doctor, Dr. Bell, suggested that integrating free healthcare services alongside meals could attract more people in need. This visionary idea laid the foundation for what would become ECHO.

With the support of the community, ECHO quickly materialized. By May 2005, medical personnel had signed on, and start-up costs were estimated. The clinic received non-profit status, transforming from a church initiative to a community-supported organization with a dedicated Board of Directors.

The Faith Christian Family Church offered the use of its facilities, providing a home for ECHO. What once was a school gymnasium bec ame a bust ling clinic twice a month, offering medical services, patient eligibility checks, social services, and medication assistance.

On Nov. 10, 2005, ECHO opened its doors to patients for the first time. Dr. Bell, alongside 40 volunteers, treated 12 patients that evening, marking the beginning of a remarkable journey. Over the years, ECHO’s impact has grown exponentially. Today, it operates with a team of 200 volunteers who serve nearly 1,000 patients annually, solely funded by donations.

Dr. Bell’s commitment to Boston Mountain Rural Health Center and the ECHO clinic has been relentless. With a medical degree from the University of Arkansas College of Medicine and a Family Medicine Residency at UAMS in Fayetteville, Dr. Bell brought his expertise and compassion to Boston Mountain Rural Health Center. For over 17 years, he dedicated himself to improving the health and well-being of the community.

While Dr. Bell may be stepping back from his role at Boston Mountain Rural Health Center, his legacy of compassion and community service will endure. As we bid farewell to one of the healthcare heroes, the spirit of healing and kindness that Dr. Bell exemplified will continue to resonate within the walls of Boston Mountain Rural Health Center for years to come.