North Carolina AHEC Program
winter 2011 newsletter | home

Northwest AHEC, Regional Partners and Local Health Science Students Participate in Free Health Clinic

Northwest AHEC helped to organize, engage and support its regional partners and local health science students to participate in the first ever NC C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic. This event was at least a year in planning by the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) and its counterpart, the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics (NCAFC), who were the main sponsors of the event. The clinic was held in North Carolina on December 7, 2010, at the Charlotte Convention Center. The key financial sponsors/partners were The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and LabCorp.

A total of 57 volunteers represented the following organizations: Winston-Salem Community Care Center (CCC) — health care professionals and support staff; Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) — nursing students and other staff; Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) — medical and PA students and other staff; and Northwest AHEC staff.

Michael Lischke, EdD, MPH, Northwest AHEC director and NCAFC board member, provided information about the free clinic to Northwest AHEC staff, WFUBMC and regional/local community partners. Volunteers registered online for two dates — December 6 (clinic set-up and other duties) and/or December 7 (a variety of duties for clinical and non-clinical volunteers). Northwest AHEC staff volunteered on both days. On the morning of the actual clinic, volunteers met at the Reynolda Business Center to board bus transportation facilitated by Northwest AHEC. Each passenger received information about AHEC’s mission and services.

The free clinic was operational from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. to serve citizens who were uninsured and/or underinsured seeking much needed medical, dental and/or eye care, including adults and children. According to Jason Baisden, executive director of the NCAFC, a total of 1,163 patients were seen/helped — thanks to the efforts of more than 1,200 volunteer physicians, physician assistants, nurses and support staff. This clinic has had the greatest number of volunteer participants for any C.A.R.E. clinic held to date, per Baisden. These clinics are held periodically by the NAFC across the country and it appears that this first NC clinic has been one of the more successful.

Northwest AHEC was happy to play a role in facilitating a win-win situation — regional staff, healthcare professionals and local health science students provided much needed help to those most in need of care while enhancing and perhaps augmenting their cultural competency skills.