UC Finalizing Plans For Student-Run Free Clinic

Apr 23, 2019

After about three years of discussions and planning, a free health clinic, run by University of Cincinnati students, should be open in Springdale this summer. UC trustees will get an update at Tuesday morning's meeting.

Joseph Kiesler is a family physician at UC College of Medicine and co-medical director of the clinic. He says in 2016, medical students identified a need for health care for segments of the local Latino community - specifically the uninsured and the undocumented. He says some students had already worked with the community, and UCMC has had a partnership with the Vineyard Cincinnati Church's Healing Center, which all led to a community health-needs assessment.

"Over the past couple of years, the students really worked together, not just the College of Medicine students," Kiesler says, "But the College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing, and the colleges to start to look at, could a clinic be feasible with the Healing Center and was it something that was needed by the community?"

In the last year, Kiesler says the College of Medicine and UC came on board. He says most other medical schools have some form of free medical clinic.

He says the clinic will serve adult patients, focusing on acute care, and wellness. By the fall he says that should expand to include chronic care. "Since the clinic is only going to be open one day a week - Saturdays - part of this also is getting patients referred to care; making those connections to places that could be medical homes for patients."

As they run the clinic, students will be getting practical experience, working with people from different cultures, and working with colleagues from different disciplines. Kiesler says eventually, students could get credits for working at the clinic. "There's a lot of educational value that is happening as well as the value back to the patient. Utmost though is that quality of care," he says.

To ensure that quality of care, Kiesler says faculty will be working closely with students. "It's called a student-run free clinic but all the decisions are finalized by a faculty member," he says. "During the patient care session though, same as with any session, there are faculty who will be there, seeing the patient along with the student."

Kiesler says the work leading up to the opening of the clinic has been paid for with grants. He says there is a search for funding sources underway.