LUCOM opens arms to local community, hosts free clinic in Martinsville
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) recently hosted a free health clinic on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Martinsville, Va. The event was coordinated by the Office of Medical Outreach and International Medicine.
LUCOM-Medical Outreach has previously held several successful clinics abroad in Guatemala and locally in the Danville and Martinsville areas. The office is dedicated to finding the best ways to reach the underserved communities both locally and across the world with quality healthcare. “Our first priority will always be patient safety, which ensures quality healthcare,” said Laura Santiago-Slagle, LUCOM International Medicine Coordinator. “Another advantage for the patients is the amount of resources they are connected with during these events.” LUCOM-Medical Outreach partnered with organizations that not only provided follow-up care for patients, but also included resources for housing, meals, and employment, among others.
Throughout the health clinic LUCOM student-doctors conducted general health screenings for diabetes, pregnancy, cardiac exams, hypertension, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) evaluations, eye and skin evaluations, and other examinations under the supervision of LUCOM faculty and practicing physicians.
The OMM screenings received the most traffic and consisted of evaluating back pain and similar symptoms. Ray Morrison, D.O., Assistant Dean of Clinical Education at LUCOM, supervised the OMM screenings and was impressed by LUCOM student-doctors. “The biggest advantage of going to a community and providing health services, for those who may not receive such services, is that it allows us to demonstrate the dedicated service and compassion following our college’s mission statement,” said Dr. Morrison. “It gives the students practical application and relevance to the reason they are attending LUCOM specifically.”
Through this event student-doctors communicated with patients they have never met and practiced what they had been taught at LUCOM in regards to health care. The patient interaction reinforced their confidence to provide health care to the community utilizing their unique personality in the delivery of those services.
The outreach event attracted Mayor Danny Turner and Ural Harris. Mayor Turner expressed a desire to work with LUCOM-Medical Outreach for future events with the hope that all of Martinsville will attend future health clinics. “This is a great event and something the whole community needs to be a part of,” said Mayor Turner. “Next year, we’re going to get the whole community involved with the hope of the event getting bigger and bigger every year.” Harris, who ran for Martinsville City Council, interacted with LUCOM student-doctors while also participating in the health screenings. “I heard this event was going on and I wanted to come down and be a part of something good happening in the community,” Harris said as a patient within the clinic.
“Many medical schools provide voluntary services such as these,” said Dr. Morrison. “However, I think that our perspective coming from a Christian environment allows for the students to demonstrate their hearts in practical applications and to demonstrate the commitment to Christian values, service, diversity, and the ethical treatment of all people.”
For this event LUCOM Medical Outreach partnered with First United Methodist Church in Martinsville, City of Martinsville, Emergency Medical Services (Martinsville), Boy Scouts of Martinsville, Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health & Wellness, Bassett Family Practice, P.A.T.H.S., Grace Network, Pregnancy Care Center, Lynchburg College PA School, Averett School of Nursing, and Liberty University School of Nursing. “This event made a great impact to the Martinsville community as well as our students,” said Santiago-Slagle. “Many organizations are now coming together to join forces and provide as many resources as they can for their community. On the other hand, our students are eager to go back out and serve the community in any way possible.”