Students Assist with Gratiot Free Clinic Planning
Several Alma College students, faculty and staff are assisting MidMichigan Medical Center-Gratiot, Gratiot Community Mental Health, Mid Michigan District Health Department and other organizations in the planning and development of the Gratiot County Free Clinic, the brainchild of longtime Alma physician Dr. Rakeesh Saxena.
The one-day-a-week free health clinic for uninsured low-income adults is set to open in mid-to-late August in the Gratiot Community Mental Health Building on Wright Avenue. Local volunteer medical professionals and support staff will donate their time and services. Read more.
The Integrated Health Studies Institute at Alma College is coordinating volunteers for the clinic, says Cristy Calhoun, institute coordinator. Students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to complete a volunteer registration form.
“We have lots of different roles for volunteers,” says Calhoun. “Some are clinical, others are non-clinical. No matter what your capabilities are, we will find a role, whether it’s working at the front desk, stocking supplies, organizing files or financial intakes. We will match volunteers with their experience. For Alma students, it is a great way to work alongside community members.”
Conversations about the free clinic surfaced a couple of years ago during community round tables sponsored by the Center for Responsible Leadership, according to Mike Vickery, professor of communication and new media studies.
“One of the things that came up during the roundtables was the need for services and opportunities for people under duress,” says Vickery. “The idea of a free clinic to provide health services and promote health awareness came up as a way to respond to the need.”
Following a class presentation by Dr. Saxena and Alma alumnus John Daniels, students in Vickery’s health communication class developed a case analysis of the need and potential value of a free health clinic to serve uninsured adults in the community.
Several Alma College faculty and staff have served on or attended meetings of the GCFC Advisory Board and on working committees to implement the free clinic. These include Sheryle Dixon, Karen Ball, Murray Borrello, Calhoun and Vickery.
“Alma students in health-oriented areas of study are exploring ways to help get the clinic going and develop internship and clinical experience opportunities,” says Vickery.
Alma students also were invited to design a logo and web banner for the GCFC. Maggie Chambers’ designs will be used for the clinic branding materials.
“The terrific part of the clinic concept is that it is more than just a free clinic where people come in and get something for free,” says Vickery. “Dr. Saxena wants to encourage those who benefit from the clinic’s services to consider how they might also serve other members of the community in some way. In other words, you get something, you give something — service for a service. What can you do to help someone else feel better?”
Posted: Mon, July 8th, 2013 at 8:43AM