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photo by Kevin Horan

Two years ago, Judith Bromley suffered a concussion when she fell off her bicycle in Chicago and was taken to an emergency room for treatment. Her husband,Dr. Serafino Garella, now 61, was concerned, but not so preoccupied that he didn't take time to encourage the young resident who was treating his wife to volunteer at a free clinic he had started. Opened in 1993, Garella's Community Health clinic now logs 10,000 patient visits a year, all at no charge. "He is obsessed with the clinic,"says Bromley, 54, of her husband, a kidney specialist and head of the department of medicine at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, I11. "It is a great passion for him.

The clinic, on the west side of Chicago, is a vital resource for the working-class, mainly Hispanic residents of the area. Garella, who was born in Italy and earned his medical degree there, could never fathom how a country as prosperous as the United States could not have universal health coverage. So with a little grant money and a lot of moxie, he started the clinic. He relentlessly enlists residents and medical students to pitch in, and he never hesitates to ask doctors to donate their services when a patient needs special care--such as repair of a cleft palate. "Not once have I had anyone turn a patient down," he says proudly. Says Sheila Lyne, Chicago's commissioner of public health: "He is the kind of person who doesn't look for anything in return. That is why people are so willing to come in with the spirit to volunteer."

Garella, who lives with Judith, a freelance architectural photographer, in a dramatic Frank Lloyd Wright house in Chicago's Hyde Park, can be found every Saturday at the clinic. "I don't think I'd rather be playing golf," he says. "I don't view it as a job." In fact, according to Judith, the clinic is what makes him happiest. "He has never felt comfortable," she says, "making a living out of other people's illness."

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