Student-run free clinic leaders present to Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – Second-year medical students Paul Pikman and Angie Maharaj hosted a roundtable discussion about the impact of the free clinic on prospective Family Medicine students at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) annual conference in Minneapolis, MN in April.

The discussion entitled “How can a student run free clinic increase interest in family medicine?” was attended by medical school faculty from across the country.

“Some faculty were working to establish an interprofessional student run clinic at their respective schools, and others have been working with student run clinics for years,” said Maharaj.  “We discussed the role that family medicine plays in the clinic and different methods of tracking the specialty interests and trajectories of students who volunteer at the clinic over time.  It was a very rich and thought-provoking discussion and a great opportunity to glean from the experience of some incredibly accomplished family physicians!”

“The discussion involved exchanging ideas about research and fund raising,” said Pikman.  “We reconnected with Dr. Susan Kean from the ECU Family Medicine Clinic and discussed similar challenges facing our clinics and how our clinics can potentially work together.”

The Community Care Clinic is located at the Campbell University Health Center, but its operational budget is dependent on private support.  The clinic’s services are free and for uninsured patients.  It is run and staffed by over 150 Campbell medical, pharmacy and physician assistant students and faculty volunteers, is among the few osteopathic and interprofessional student-run free clinics in the country, and its student leadership is active on the state and national level with the North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the National Society of Student Run Free Clinics, and representing Campbell’s medical school at conferences like STFM.

“One of the highlights in attending the conference was that we reconnected with Dr. Wanda Filer, president of American Association of Family Physicians,” said Maharaj.  “North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians sponsored her visiting CUSOM in April 2015, and she has been a fantastic mentor to our clinic leaders.  We are thankful for all of the support the clinic has received and to be part of the national conversation.”

To date, the clinic has had over 300 office visits and seen over 100 patients and recently received grants from the American Association of Family Physicians and the North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics for clinic supplies and lab tests for patients.