Last updated on October 14th, 2013 at 02:55 pm
In only one year the Meharry 12 South Community Clinic has provided over $20,000 worth of free medical care to the people of Nashville with or without insurance.
Created and supervised by Meharry medical students, the clinic has been enhancing both lives of the people and the medical educations for the students. One of Nashville’s storied institutions is in partnership with the United Neighborhoods Health Services clinic network.
“The clinic started with a few students interested in starting a free clinic so that they could cultivate a training ground for future primary care physicians and then also access to care,” said Naomi Bitow, Co-Director of Case Management. “The services that we provide are comprehensive care, primary care for children and adults. We do referrals to social services and we recently started doing oral cancer screenings,” Bitow added.
Meharry 12 South Community Clinic helps to both enhance the educational experience of students and to offer top-quality health care at no cost to an underserved community. This community clinic is made possible by the devoted student and faculty volunteers at Meharry, as well as donors and institutional support.
The clinic is open on Thursdays from 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Its mission is to address health care disparities within our community by providing free, high-quality care to Nashville’s underserved populations and by serving as a clinical skills training ground for students, inspiring the next generation of primary care specialists.
“We started with one day a week from six to nine,” said Nick Kramer, a second year medical student. “As our patients numbers grow, we hope to move to eventually have two physicians on this night which would allow us to see twice as many patients and then we would move to two days a week,” Kramer added.
The clinic is still forming its presence in the community, so it is essential to take an active approach in order to spread the word about the clinic and recruit patients. Volunteers are an irreplaceable portion of this vital part of clinical operation and development.
The goal of the volunteer is to unite with individuals, their families and their friends who are considered low-income, uninsured, or not already receiving health care services.
“It is important because we are giving healthcare to a wide range of the citizens in Nashville,” said Courtney James, a second year medical student. “I think it impacts not only the community but also us as students because that’s why we came to Meharry, so that we could provide healthcare to those that don’t have it,” James added.
The clinic is growing more and more every week and will start giving out free flu shots as early as next week.