Published November 10, 2014
The nonprofit Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic — where University at Buffalo medical students care for uninsured patients — hosted an art opening to promote community health care services and awareness.
The event showcased paintings by local artist Kaaren Metcalf, who created portraits of children treated at the clinic.
At the opening, medical students distributed health and medical information, gave tours and discussed the history of the clinic.
Student volunteers engage in service learning at the clinic, providing routine health care and preventive services to patients on Buffalo’s East Side, a medically underserved community.
“All of the children in the paintings were cared for by UB students and faculty preceptors,” says Sarah E. Morse, a second-year medical student and one of the managers of the clinic. “We frequently work with entire families of pediatric patients.”
Morse, who hopes to specialize in pediatrics, says the experience she has gained at the clinic is significant.
“I’ve found the experience dealing with families and children to be an important part of my role at the Lighthouse Clinic and to my development as an empathetic physician,” she notes.
“We work regularly with family medicine and pediatric attending physicians who give us early education and exposure to the nuances of pediatric care, which we otherwise may not encounter until well into the third year of medical school,” says Morse.
Students who volunteer at the clinic provide physicals, vaccinations, referrals, screenings for chronic conditions, generic medications, treatment and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases and assistance with obtaining insurance.
UB medical students run and manage the clinic under the close supervision and mentorship of volunteer physicians.
“We’re different from clinics at other medical schools because we’re entirely student run,” emphasizes Jacob Castiglia, a second-year medical student who also helps manage the clinic.
The drop-in clinic has been operating since 2001 and was initiated by UB medical students who wanted to do more to help meet health care needs in the local community.
Over three years, Metcalf worked from photographs of the pediatric patients to develop a body of work reflecting the beauty and expressiveness of the children’s faces.
Her watercolor paintings will be permanently installed at the clinic, located at the UBMD Jefferson Family Medicine Center.
The artist’s husband, Harry L. Metcalf, MD ’60, is an alumnus, former faculty member and administrator of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He has long volunteered at the clinic, supervising the work of UB medical students.
The September event was free and open to the public.