WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Students from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine will open a free evening medical clinic in the Community Care Center on New Walkertown Road beginning Wednesday, Sept. 17.
The clinic – called the DEAC Clinic (Delivering Equal Access to Care) – will be free for any patients who are not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and whose income falls below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Initiated and developed entirely by a group of WFU medical students, the clinic will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Wednesday evening.
“The response from students has been overwhelming,” said Brian Mikolasko, a second-year student at the medical school. “When we put a notice on the internet asking for volunteers for a three-month time period, every slot was filled within 15 minutes.” Mikolasko has coordinated the opening of the clinic along with second-year students Keli Beck and Tricia Williams, third-year student Cameron Webb, and many other WFU medical students. Mikolasko, who is jointly pursuing his M.B.A. from the WFU Babcock School of Management, developed the initial budget for the clinic.
Steven M. Block, M.D., B.Ch., senior associate dean of the medical school, praised the efforts of the students. “This clinic speaks highly of the spirit of service among them,” he said. “They are truly committed citizens of our community who really want to make a difference, and are certain to do so.”
The clinic, which will cost about $15,000 a year to run, has received a $30,000 grant to be distributed over four years from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). It has also recently been selected as a recipient of an American Medical Association (AMA) Fund for Better Health Grant of $2,000. The Community Care Center, a free medical and dental clinic staffed primarily by volunteers, is providing the site and all utilities at no cost. LabCorp, a clinical laboratory based in Burlington, will supply complimentary services.
The students have applied for membership in the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics, which would grant them $15,000 per year. Several other grants have also been applied for. Approximately 20 medical students will staff the clinic each Wednesday evening, supervised by two to three attending faculty, alumni or community physicians on site. All staff, including the physicians, are volunteers.
The clinic will be a fully functioning general practice, with all appointments scheduled in advance and finances vetted by staff at the Community Care Center. Patients will be checked in and have their vital signs taken by first-year students. Patients will then be seen by a team of one second-year student and one third- or fourth-year student. After visiting with the patient, the medical students will discuss their findings with one of the attending physicians and develop a treatment plan. The team will then explain the treatment to the patient, and the attending physician will sign off on the treatment and any medication necessary. Patients are also counseled on health education and prevention with each visit.
In the future, Mikolasko said, the students hope to incorporate physician assistant, nursing and medical technician students at the clinic as well as offer specialty services, such as mental health, vision care, dermatology and obstetrics/gynecology, once a month.
More information about the DEAC Clinic can be found at www.wfubmc.edu/deac or email@example.com.
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