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The University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently re-opened the USA Student-Run Free Clinic (SRFC) after moving to the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama in Mobile.
In the SRFC, students from the USA College of Medicine and other students from health professional programs at USA see patients in an inter-professional working atmosphere.
George Reed, a local Mobile resident, was especially thankful for the chance to be treated by student volunteers at the USA Student-Run Free Clinic (SFRC). “A lot of members of the community do not have the funds to see a physician, and I am grateful for the level of care I received today,” he said.
The inter-professional atmosphere of the SRFC is unique not only to programs within USA, but also to schools throughout the country.
Dr. Alison Rudd, assistant professor of nursing and assistant director of the USA Simulation Program, said the program is different from other student-run clinics because of the level of collaboration that takes place between students of different professions. “In other student-run clinics, medical students are fully running it, but at our clinic, we truly encourage students from every field to collaborate.”
The SRFC was previously located at 15 Place, a homeless shelter in Mobile. When the facility closed its doors, the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama offered space in its facility. Students spent time painting and working on repairs in the space before it was ready to open in July.
Justin Beasley, a second-year medical student at USA, helped during the move. “I’m pretty invested in the new location and ready to help people who might not get help otherwise,” he said.
Kelli Caddell is a third-year pharmacy student at the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, which partners with USA in a joint pharmacy program. She said that the new clinic will provide more space for students and patients to engage in medical care as the clinic grows. “We work with local organizations to get patients the care they need, as well as wellness and preventative treatments and patient education,” she said.
“In the previous location, we could only see those individuals experiencing homelessness,” Dr. Rudd added. “At the Salvation Army, I think there is more opportunity for growth because we can see anyone who walks through the door.”
Ellen Zhou, a second-year medical student at USA, was ready to get hands-on experience while treating members of the community. “Getting into a room with a patient is my favorite part of volunteering, and it reminds us why we wanted to becomes doctors in the first place,” she said.
Joseph Cortopassi, a second-year medical student at USA, knows that it is important to give his time to something beyond just studying and classes. “When you’re in the clinic, you’re reminded that patients are more than just a number and that they have a lot going on in their lives,” he said.
Another second-year medical student, Anna Stevens, was happy to be learning from the nurses, audiologists, and other students who also came to serve in the clinic. “I have learned so much from everyone here, and it’s great for us to know that even if we have multiple tests to study for in the next week, the SRFC reminds us of why we’re all putting in the hard work,” she said.
Students enrolled in professional programs of study at USA -- including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, clinical and counseling psychology, audiology, physician assistant studies and therapeutic recreation -- are encouraged to volunteer.
For more information about the SRFC, click here.
View more photos here.
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