Rich says everyone volunteering at the clinic will be trained in a curriculum designed to promote cultural humility, an ongoing process that will ensure health professionals learn and are sensitive to cultural differences they may encounter with clients.
She says plenty of economic and environmental factors, such as racism, sexism and classism, often impact the health of people more than genetics.
“Our students will learn to care for patients within the context of their lives,” says Rich.
“Free clinics are free from the constraints of billing, productivity measures and a provider can spend as much time as a particular patient needs for care that day,” says Rich. “It is the kind of working environment that fosters a connection between people. The UC student-run free health clinic not only addresses a very real need in the community, but it is also an avenue for collaboration, learning and growing and for healing within our own institution.”
Espinola says the clinic has developed real leadership skills among its student organizers. “Their initiative is incredible. I can’t tell you how many obstacles they have had to overcome to keep moving forward. That entire process will help them in the future as they become leaders in our healthcare system. I am so proud of their work.”
Monica Roberts, executive director of the Healing Center, says the clinic is a welcomed addition to the center.
“There can be an assumption that poverty only affects those in the inner city, but suburban poverty accounts for almost half of the growth in overall poverty in the last 15 years,” says Roberts. “There are many people in the northern suburbs that benefit from some assistance in meeting their basic needs. The student run free health clinic will be a much needed support for those families.”
All photos by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative Services