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Students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine have recently kick-started a student-run volunteer clinic at 15 Place, a homeless shelter in Mobile, Ala.
The clinic began operation with an interprofessional staff including both undergraduate and graduate students and is a collaboration between the students and faculty of the USA College of Medicine; College of Nursing; several departments in the College of Allied Health, including physician assistant studies and speech pathology and audiology; as well as the department of social work in the College of Arts and Sciences.
According to Dr. Susan Ledoux, associate dean for medical education and student affairs and professor and vice chair of the department of cell biology and neuroscience at USA, the concept was brought to fruition when medical students currently in their second year expressed a desire to create a volunteer, no-charge wellness clinic for the homeless population in Mobile. By the end of March 2014, the clinic was in operation.
The USA student-run clinic is open every other Saturday, and has expanded from the location at 15 Place to include Dumas Wesley and Cathedral Place.
For fourth-year USA medical student Griffin Collins, the clinic’s hands-on approach has a big impact on professional development. “Students divide into teams with representatives from each department to interview and care for patients,” he said. “We counsel the patients on a wide range of health conditions from metabolic conditions such as diabetes to mental health conditions like depression.”
“It provides us an opportunity to be engaged in the community, develop empathy for disadvantaged patients and to see the value of the differing perspectives offered by students from other disciplines,” said Collins.
Patients that visit the student-run clinic for a wellness checkup and require further medical services and/or treatment are referred and connected with other agencies.
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