Columbus Rotary Club has donated $5,000 in its ongoing support of the Hillside Clinic and Abby’s House, a dormitory for medical students in southern Belize.

Fourth-year medical students who spend a month at Hillside Health Care International in southern Belize stay at Abby’s House, a dorm that houses up to 16 students located next to the free clinic.

The dorm is named after Abigail Brinkman, a Columbus native who died in a 2005 diving accident while serving at the clinic.

Brinkman, 28 at the time, was a fourth-year medical student at Indiana University. Her parents, Roger and Jan Brinkman of Columbus, worked with the Rotary Club and community organizations on the fundraising campaign to build the $200,000 dormitory.

Her dream was to become a pediatrician and to devote a part of each year to mission work in underserved areas of the world. To remember her, the Brinkman family, the Columbus Rotary Club, First Presbyterian Church and others throughout the community worked to establish Abby’s House and the clinic.

Designed by Columbus architect Nolan Bingham and dedicated in 2008, Abby’s House also includes a community kitchen and living area.

Denise Soltis, president of the board of directors of the clinic, attended the Sept. 25 Columbus Rotary meeting to update club members on the work at the clinic.

Where to learn more

For more information about the clinic, visit For more information about the Columbus Rotary Club, visit