Paul L. Foster School of Medicine students gathered in the courtyard of the Medical Education Building this past Wednesday to celebrate the first anniversary of the Paul L. Foster SOM Student Run Clinic in Sparks. Eduardo Garcia, a second-year student and one of the current student leaders, gave the remarks and recognized student run clinic founding student leaders, faculty and staff for their perseverance and dedication.
Founding student leaders Chetna Pande, Jessica Phillips, Victoria Nunez and Andy Billnitzer were lauded for “their unwillingness to take no for an answer. ” He said it was because of those students that they now had a clinic.
Garcia also recognized volunteer faculty including five physicians–Drs. Maureen Francis, Gordon Woods, Maria Teresa Villanos, David Palafox, and Blanca Garcia, for countless hours of hard work and mentoring “to help us go from an idea to a running clinic. Their commitment to our clinic has ensured its success and we would not be able to be where we’re at without their continued support,” he said.
He also mentioned Loretta Flores in the Office of the President, TTUHSC El Paso, as someone who was committed and great at everything she does. “Loretta somehow manages to dedicate herself full-time to the Dean’s Office as well as countless other projects while still taking us under her wing.” Garcia said Loretta figured out the entire clinic logistics and other behind the scenes issues that although not directly related to medical care, are still vitally important and relevant to the students running their clinic.
Garcia also thanked TTUHSC EP President Richard Lange, M.D., and VP for Health Affairs Jose Manuel de la Rosa, M.D., for giving them support and the green light to get the clinic started and still running. Garcia promised them the students would not disappoint them.
Garcia spoke about the students who have volunteered at the clinic. “It is always so impressive and humbling to see how fast our sign-up sheets fill up with students eager to learn and give back to the community. You find a way to take time out of your busy schedule and for that we are thankful.”
Lastly, he said many of the screenings they have done would not be possible if not for the generous community organizations and donors that have come forward with support in many forms.
“Since our opening a year ago today, we have served a total of 518 uninsured, low-income patients in the Sparks
community. This was all possible by the help of 295 amazing students who have been supervised by four to five physicians at each one of our 19 clinic dates.
“Our clinic continues to grow and the demand for our services is growing faster than we can meet it. Our students do everything from registration, to triage, to patient care and discharge. However, one important piece that’s needed to ensure success are physicians,” he said.
Garcia is asking for additional physician support for at least one clinic date this semester
“There is a community that needs us and with your time as a volunteer, we can ensure that we provide them with the care that they deserve,” he said.
Physicians interested in volunteering with the clinic should contact either Dr. Maureen Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Eduardo.email@example.com. Students interested in volunteering may contact Kate Petty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another email provided for questions about the student run clinic is PLFSOMfreeclinic@ttuhsc.edu. That email is checked by student leadership daily.