Lee, Sharon

Lee, M.D.
Year Inducted: 
Dr. Sharon Lee
  • Founded Southwest Boulevard Family Health CARE 
  • One of the first physicians in Kansas City to treat HIV patients

Dr. Lee took an interesting path, changing her major several times before graduating from KU with a degree in psychology in 1974. She then attended the University of Kansas Medical School, graduating in 1982 and doing her post-graduate work at the KU Medical Center and what is now Truman Medical Center—Lakewood.

A product of KU in the early 1970s, Dr. Lee left campus knowing she wanted to help people, but not quite certain how. But that wouldn't last long. When she finished her residency, Dr. Lee noticed a problem with healthcare in America: people without insurance were not receiving medical care. So in 1989, she opened what is now called Southwest Boulevard Family Health CARE and started providing medical care to anyone who came through the door, regardless of their ability to pay. And to keep overhead down and the quality of services up, Family Health CARE was founded on the idea that everyone should make the same wage. So Dr. Lee and her receptionist make the same hourly wage, and her patients benefit from technology that the clinic would not otherwise be able to afford.

At first the clinic provided basic diagnostic and preventative care, but when the HIV epidemic hit the Kansas City area, Dr. Lee knew it was time to expand services. Dr. Lee became one of the first physicians in the area to treat HIV patients, and to provide HIV support services. She saw a problem and worked to fix it. And she has stuck to that method. Family Health CARE continues to grow with the needs of the community. Today it offers a wide range of programs, many of which are not purely healthcare based, and has become increasingly focused on serving refugees.

Dr. Lee set out to help people, and as this quote from a young, female refugee will attest, she has more than met that goal: "I came to you as an immigrant, with no money and I could not speak English then. You accepted me and treated me better than I have been treated at places in my home . . . I am not sure why or how I got the treatment and care I needed, except by knowing you." 

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