Published September 26, 2013
During a recent city bus tour, first-year University at Buffalo medical students learned about opportunities to care for the underserved.
The tour, which included stops at four community sites, is a new orientation initiative to acquaint students with service learning options that allow them to see patients and gain real-world experience.
At Jericho Road Family Practice, Kim Griswold, MD, associate professor of family medicine and psychiatry, discussed refugee health and the comprehensive scope of services that refugees and immigrants receive there.
Students learned how they could serve uninsured patients at the Lighthouse Clinic, a nonprofit drop-in clinic managed by eight UB medical students.
At Friends of the Night People, second-year medical student Anthony Turner acquainted students with its free clinic and discussed common patient concerns, including athlete’s foot and fungal lesions.
He showed students the exam rooms, which are stocked not only with medical supplies but extra clothing and shoes for patients.
Turner, a student manager and volunteer coordinator at Friends of the Night People, says volunteers have direct contact with patients before the attending physician joins them in the exam room.
“You’re encouraged to do as much of the patient interview and physical exam as you feel comfortable doing, and student managers are in the room to help guide you.”
The clinic’s small size helps students feel comfortable and allows them to take their time during the patient encounter, Turner notes.
“It's a nice refresher when you meet patients who validate the information you’re learning in lectures and textbooks,” he adds.
Sarah Riley, a second-year medical student who helped plan the August 2013 bus tour, notes that service learning is heavily emphasized at UB.
“I would not have had these incredible learning experiences had I chosen another medical school,” she says, adding that volunteering at the clinics has introduced her to a diverse patient population.