Published February 29, 2016
The student-run Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic is broadening its array of services and upgrading its equipment through collaboration and fundraising efforts.
Founded in 2001, the nonprofit, drop-in clinic provides free routine medical and preventive care to residents of Buffalo’s East Side, designated a “medically underserved community” by the federal government.
Under the supervision of faculty physicians, medical students volunteer at the clinic every Wednesday night, providing routine care, including physicals, diabetes and hypertension screenings, treatment for routine illnesses, counseling and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and help with enrolling in medical insurance.
Colleagues from UB’s other health sciences schools have been recruited to help expand the clinic’s list of services.
Students from the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Social Work and the School of Public Health and Health Professions now volunteer at the clinic, as do a few young professionals who are in the process of applying to medical school.
“The clinic provides invaluable training and education for medical students, undergraduates, dental students, nutritionists, social workers and other students from the UB health sciences community to aid the less fortunate in Buffalo,” says Matthias Williams, a clinic manager and second-year medical student.
The training helps introduce students to primary care and may spur some of them to go into the field upon graduation.
“Every time I am there, I feel inspired to bring my best self and do everything I can for the patients,” says second-year medical student Claire Maggiotto, a clinic manager.
Thanks to concerted fundraising efforts focused on clinic alumni and the wider UB community, students will now also be able to upgrade the clinic’s computer equipment.
The Microsoft Surface devices they are purchasing are similar to those used by residency programs and will allow for increased portability, accessibility and access to apps that will help move care to the next level, Williams explains.
Ideally, the students would also like to purchase a new electronic medical records (EMR) system.
“A new EMR system would help us transition our patients into primary care facilities in the neighborhood to ensure continuity of care,” says Maggiotto, who is also the clinic’s fundraising manager.
“My time at Lighthouse has shown me how much the deck can be stacked against people,” she says. “I think Lighthouse is a place where we can help put a couple of cards in our patients’ favor.”