LUCOM student-doctors visit Martinsville, provide OMM treatments to community
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) student-doctors participated in a medical outreach event, referred to as the Martinsville Community Care Collaborative (MCCC), earlier this month. Working alongside several nonprofit organizations, they provided Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) to community members with musculoskeletal discomfort. This marked the fourth visit to the region by LUCOM students.
The MCCC event brought together Lynchburg and Martinsville organizations committed to serving the underserved and impoverished of the community. As many residents of Central Virginia face health challenges that require comprehensive and preventive services, such as food, housing, medical, etc., the MCCC event was designed to connect residents with available resources within their own community. The goal was to help improve their health and wellness.
“The MCCC was an incredible display of collaboration, compassion, and commitment as many partners joined together to serve our brothers and sisters affected by circumstances beyond their control for many of them,” said James Cook, director of Medical Outreach and International Medicine.
Initiated by LUCOM-Medical Outreach, the event was initially designed to provide student-doctors an opportunity to have both clinical and practical experience.
“Though this was a one day event, you really connect with patients one-on-one. It becomes something memorable as you hear their personal stories,” said Hemi Ryu, first-year student-doctor.
For many first-year student-doctors, this was their first opportunity working with real patients. “I learned a lot at the MCCC. I had a second-year student-doctor with me, instructing me, step-by-step, and I was able to really learn a lot more through hands-on than I thought I would,” said Matthew Lee, first-year student-doctor. “Many of my patients were open to OMM, which was great for me to practice.”
Additional health services including behavioral, dental, medical, and vision, were offered, along with addiction recovery, haircuts, foot care, and disability services by the community.
“One of my patients, unfortunately could not afford to visit the dentist. By offering a free dental resource, he was able to have a bad tooth removed and then receive OMM. These clinics are great practice for us as students and reminds us of why we are studying medicine,” added Ryu.
LUCOM also partnered with students from the Lynchburg College Physician Assistant program and Averett University School of Nursing. “The schools came together with their students to provide a practical application of their excellent instruction in healthcare. We were privileged to see caring leaders from the community coming alongside each other, willing to help and inform the students of all the resources they can use as they grow into their professions,” added Cook.LUCOM first-year student-doctor Victoria Johnson was very pleased with the event. “I am very happy that there were more patients than what I was expecting. This event was extremely important to offer, even if just for a day. Free resources, free osteopathic care, free dental care, and more. We need to continue these events within the community; they are extremely important for a person’s continuity of care.”
An important component to the MCCC was an eye-care station, staffed by local optometrists as well as a LUCOM ophthalmologist; patients were able to receive free eye exams and a free pair of glasses donated by the Lions Club. “Students learned how to examine the eyes and saw the impact that eye disease, or even the need for corrective lenses, has on the lives of their patients,” said David F. Klink, DO, senior associate dean for clinical affairs and associate professor of Ophthalmology. “It was an invaluable learning experience for the students and will help them appreciate the importance of good eye care as they progress throughout the rest of their careers.”
Though student-doctors were able to practice independently, LUCOM faculty were close by to assist when needed. “I had several opportunities to work with Dr. Sigmund Seiler. His attention to patient details really helped me in identifying immediate medical needs. You can’t learn that in a classroom,” said Katrina Samson, second-year student-doctor. Sigmund Seiler, MD, serves as an associate professor of Family Medicine at LUCOM.
Kathy Bogacz, MD, FACP, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, was very pleased with the demeanor of the LUCOM students. “They reacted incredibly well to patient feedback. They are trained to interact with patients through our standardized patients and in the Patient Centered Medicine labs, however, you can’t get a true-honest reaction unless you’re in the field. These clinics become valuable tools for our students and I am very proud of them.”
Planning for the MCCC started this past summer with several organizations meeting at LUCOM.
For Tracy Hinchcliff, executive director for the Grace Network, the MCCC was true mission work. “I was so pleased and honored to be a part of this. We broke through to the community that we are trying to reach out and we can build on this.”
Pastor Keith Ritchie, First United Methodist Church, also said, “Being a part of the collaborative is one of the highlights of my many years of ministry – so grateful to have worked with the organizations and grateful to have touched many lives.”
Relating to the spiritual component of the event, Anh Nguyen, second-year student-doctor, said, “Sometimes, all someone really needs is someone to listen and prayer. If I see a patient whose spirit is down, I can talk with him or her casually and offer comfort through prayer.”
The Martinsville Community Care Collaborative took place at First United Methodist Church with over 260 patients seen. Plans are underway to host another event next fall.
The Martinsville Community Care Collaborative was supported by:
- Adecco Staffing
- Adult Education, Martinsville City Public Schools
- Altrusa International, Inc.
- Averett University, School of Nursing
- Bassett Family Practice
- Boys and Girls Club of the Blue Ridge
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children (Martinsville, Henry County)
- Disability Rights and Resource Center
- Eye Site
- First United Methodist Church
- Grace Network of Martinsville-Henry County
- Hope Tree Family Services
- J. Peyton Moore, DDS
- Jones and Deshon Orthodontics
- Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Lynchburg College, Physician Assistant program
- Martinsville Eyecare Center
- Martinsville Family Dentistry
- Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness
- Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA
- Optima Health Family Care
- Patrick Henry Community College
- Piedmont Community Services
- Piedmont Virginia Dental Health Foundation
- Pregnancy Care Center of Martinsville and Henry County
- Smart Beginnings
- Smith River Smiles
- Southern Area Agency on Aging
- Step Inc. (Martinsville)
- The Community Fellowship and Dream Center
- The Salvation Army (Martinsville)
- United Way of Henry County and Martinsville
- Virginia Department of Health
- Virginia Department of Veterans Services (Martinsville)
- Virginia Employment Commission (Martinsville)
- Virginia Workforce Center (Martinsville)
- West Piedmont Works
- Wilson Family Dentistry
- YMCA, Martinsville