Meharry Medical Students Providing Free Care At Clinic - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Meharry Medical Students Providing Free Care At Clinic

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by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE,  Tenn. - A group of students at Meharry Medical College spend their Thursday nights serving patients, and never charge them for the care they receive.

The 12 South Community Clinic opens every week from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and is entirely run and staffed by Meharry students.

"The majority of our patents that we're seeing are uninsured, they have no insurance what-so-ever. So they wouldn't be able to go to the doctor, or if they did they would have to pay for it out of pocket and for most people that's impractical," said student Veronica Ralls.

The students are able to provide the patients the medical care they would find at a primary doctor's office.

"We are actually the ones going in and taking the histories, and doing the exam, and making recommendations to the patients as far as what we think their care should be," Ralls explained.

The clinic opened a year ago. United Neighborhood Health Services has donated its Waverly Clinic on 12th Avenue South, the students have donated their time and more people in the Edgehill area are taking advantage of the service.

"When we first started, we were probably seeing three to five patients a night. Last week we saw 19 patients," said medical student Nick Kramer.

The clinic not only provides a service to the patients, it also helps the students studying to be doctors.

"You don't get to see patients, or get to be involved in their management until third year of medical school. And as a second year, and even a first year, last year, I was able to be involved with patient care," Ralls said.

Randall McCutchon came to the clinic for a free flu shot.

"It's very helpful, for a lot of us," said McCutchon. "Makes me feel safe, knowing someone's there to care for you.

The students feel they are providing a service and helping the community.

"We have patients come in every week and tell us how grateful they are, these are patients who otherwise couldn't get primary care," according to Kramer.

The students said it is best to make an appointment for a Thursday night by calling 615-378-7585, but walk-in patients are always welcome.


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