When people go to a free clinic, they don't expect their doctor to also be the governor of the state.
But Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer, a physician, will treat at least half a dozen patients on June 2 when he volunteers at the Mayflower Clinic in Wichita.
Mayflower is a weekend clinic where volunteer physicians and nurses donate their time to provide free medical care for patients who can't afford it.
Colyer offered to come to Mayflower and treat patients last summer when he was lieutenant governor, after speaking at a health fair at a south Wichita church, said Abdul Arif, a board member of the clinic.
"He (Colyer) ... expressed his desire to volunteer with the clinic, so I obviously grabbed onto it for dear life," Arif said.
Colyer moved up to the governor's office early this year, when Gov. Sam Brownback resigned after being confirmed to an ambassadorship in the Trump administration. He must seek re-election this year and faces a host of challengers.
"It's one hell of an honor to have a sitting governor come volunteer and see patients in our clinic," Arif said.
It could be a Kansas first. The only other Kansas governor who was also a doctor was the state's first governor, Charles Robinson, a Lawrence physician who served from 1861 to 1863, according to Kansas Historical Society records.
Patients who are scheduled for appointments June 2 have been informed that they may be treated by the governor, said Chelsea French, the executive director of the Mayflower Clinic.
She said about 30 physicians — all volunteers — donate their time. The clinic treated 611 patients last year.
All care is provided free of charge, though some patients will donate $5 or $10 if they can afford to, she said.
Colyer, a plastic surgeon, has a history of providing volunteer medical care. Since the late 1980s, he has traveled overseas with the International Medical Corps to treat disfiguring birth defects and children's injuries in warn-torn countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Colyer is scheduled to treat patients at Mayflower from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and then participate in a reception for the clinic. The clinic is at 401 E. First St., Wichita.
Arif said he hopes the governor's appearance will inspire more doctors to volunteer time at the clinic. "It's our feeling the governor, who is a physician, leads by example," he said.