The Value of Medical Students in Free Clinics: Why Medical Students are Uniquely Positioned to Understand, Empower, and Serve
Medical students: we’re eager but anxious, we want to help but we don’t always know how, we study hard but we’re often unsure of the answers. We mean well, but because we are still learning, we often straddle a thin line between giving and taking from our experiences. We are told we are important members of a patient’s care team, but we question ourselves constantly. These questions are particularly salient when we apply them to our work in free clinics. This past year, one of sixteen medical students from Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine that organized and staffed a weekly primary care clinic at CommunityHealth Clinic (CHC), the nation’s largest volunteer-run free clinic, asked herself questions regarding how helpful she and her fellow board members were to the broader community. She sets out to answer the following question: What value, if any, do medical students add to a free clinic?