Family Medicine Cares USA Assists Free Medical Clinics: Kirksville, Mo., Clinic Uses Grant to Serve Local Amish Community
AAFP foundation launched its Family Medicine Cares (FMC) USA, to support free health clinics, financially; and provide grants for the procurement of tangible items such as exam tables, computers for electronic health record systems and medical equipment. So far, about $416,000 grant has been awarded by the program to 38 free clinics(14 new and 24 existing) in 21 states. This has helped provide services to about 227,000 patients, which is reckoned to be worth more than $45 million. The program also has an estimate of more than 3,100 volunteers, including medical students, residents, and physicians in the year 2017.
The Still Caring Health Connection Volunteers in Medicine (SCHC-VIM) is affiliated with A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) and Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) in Kirksville, Mo. Utilizing the grant awarded by FMC, their free clinic, received approximately $22,000 from the program when it started its operation in 2015. That funding helped them purchase various devices, such as hemoglobin A1C and lipid panel machines, portable osteopathic manipulative medicine tables, rotating stools, exam lights, weight scales, otoscopes and exam chairs; in addition to stethoscopes, thermometers, penlights, and blood pressure cuffs.
On a freezing day in April, students from ATSU-KCOM and ATSU-MOSDOH served an underserved Amish community in Queen City. Robert Ring, a medical student at ATSU-KCOM, and a rural outreach medical director of the SCHC-VIM club told AAFP News that the free health fair offers participants dental screening from dental students and also a general health screening, including Osteopathic manipulative treatments. Ring mentioned that the clinics are a great learning experience for them, and he continued, “The clinical context is really helpful as we are learning medicine the first couple of years. It makes things meaningful to you — being able to help the people who need it the most.”
According to Ring, the free health clinics are very beneficial to the Amish community and rural areas at large. Patients in the Amish community are very hardworking, and they partake in physical labor. Therefore, osteopathic treatments can offer vivid improvements whenever they have significant problems.
Andrew Lovy, D.O., as well as a number of other professors are involved in the supervision of the Osteopathic students. A fantastic notion about these events is that the students are able to execute the osteopathic techniques they learned from their classmates. Under supervision, students are able to help improve real patients with real problems in the real world.
An Amish patient from Greentop, Mo, stated that his family had visited one of the SCHC-VIM free health fairs for the third time and he very much appreciated the osteopathic manipulations to relax his sore muscles. Patients without health insurance, also, receive care from the SCHC-VIM program that runs a free clinic at ATSU’s Gutensohn Clinic.
A second-year dental student at ATSU-MOSDOH, Roshni Joseph, helps in coordination and organization of the SCHC-VIM free health fairs. He announced that many patients seen by the dental team do not have the dental supplies they require to floss or even brush their teeth. So, the students at the clinic usually provide them with education about brushing, flossing, as well as supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. In addition to that, they give them a fluoride varnish to help prevent cavities. Lastly, the group also helped with affordable referrals when there was a necessity for additional dental care.
Participating in the SCHC-VIM program has been a pleasant experience for Ring. The impact of services offered by the FMC USA program deserves remarkable accolades as they have helped thousands of people to regain, sustain, and maintain good health status. They also formulate a platform for individuals to enact changes in their community by helping the less privileged. The fact is that activities of the program require funds, in order to maintain their operations. This is where AAFP members and others who want to support come in by providing funds for the success of FMC USA program.
Let’s help them do more!