Marjorie Hamrell, Director of Clinic Development at the Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) national office, conducted a site visit earlier this month with Salud Sin Fronteras (Health Without Borders). Students and faculty at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences (TTUHS) Center of El Paso, Texas, launched this health care clinic with assistance from VIM national office.
Medical Director Dr. Charmaine Martin spearheaded the clinic as part of a program in the Department of Primary Medicine designed to spark medical students’ interest in primary care while exposing them to the underserved community of migrant farmers and other uninsured populations.
With experienced physicians overseeing the process, the students work in the clinic enhancing their primary care experience and abilities. A supportive collaboration within the Family Practice program at TTUHS Center provides an opportunity for many students in medicine, including prospective pharmacology and other health professional students to participate the clinic experience.
Many others partner with the medical team to offer social services and other support resources for the patients. Dr. Martin hopes that this clinic program will ultimately help increase the number of primary care doctors in this part of Texas, which is among the most underserved areas in the country.
Now that Salud Sin Fronteras has completed their site visit and met other criteria, including compiling a needs assessment, building a community-based effort, offering services free of charge, and adopting an inclusive Culture of Caring environment, the clinic has been invited to become the 89th member of the Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Alliance.
Clinic Program Coordinator Tracy Leonard stated that, “as a result of Marjorie’s site visit all of the members of our clinic are energized to move forward with projects and our vision.” She added that, “the students are able to see the clinic on a much larger scale now that it has become a part of the VIM Alliance” and “the Board of Directors are inspired to be a part of a fantastic organization.” The community panel discussion has resulted in many different organizations reaching out to offer their assistance and support.
Salud Sin Fronteras is planning a grand opening celebration in early 2018. For a complete list of VIM Alliance members, visit the VIM Clinic Directory.