Improving Community Health and the Volunteer Experience: The Creation of a New Student-Run Free Clinic
Over one-third of the population of Pontiac, Michigan lives below the poverty line, so as could be expected, access to healthcare is limited for many of Pontiac’s community members. After years of anticipation and eventually many months of diligent planning, the Family Medicine Interest Group leadership of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, in conjunction with the Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic, designed and implemented the school’s first organized student-run free clinic in 2015. Currently, the students of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine operate the clinic one evening per month to provide free care to an average of eight patients each clinic date. A growing group of student leadership has been assembled with the primary goal of providing ethical, high-quality, and cost-free healthcare to our community members in need, while simultaneously working to improve the efficiency of the clinic, enhance student interest in community service and health promotion, and increase community awareness and support of the Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic. As the student-run free clinic continues to grow and see improved operations, there is hope to open additional days of clinical services and begin offering new student-run health education services.