LUCOM student-doctors return to help with Community Care Collaborative | Lynchburg
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) was a lead partner in a local initiative, the Community Care Collaborative | Lynchburg, bringing together community and health resources to those in need. On Saturday, April 7, nearly 40 community organizations came together to offer a wide array of free services including hearing and vision tests, mental health screenings, dental assessments and extractions, eye exams (with free glasses), STD and pregnancy tests, hand and foot care, personal IDs from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and general medicine (with 30-days of medications as prescribed). All attendees were eligible to receive medical care—with or without insurance.
A unique component of the event was the Osteopathic Manipulative Treatments (OMT) provided by LUCOM student-doctors. OMT is a hands-on palpatory approach to medical care focusing on the neuromuscular skeletal system which is a core component of the education that LUCOM teaches. “The osteopathic care that we provided was, I think, very well received,” said Kane Smith, first-year student-doctor. “My goal for each patient is to know, that even though they may be sick or have an ailment of some kind, that they are incredibly strong for coming out and taking advantage of the community event.”
The Collaborative took place at the Salvation Army and though the weather was less than desired, that didn’t prevent over 200 participants from coming to receive care. “Moving to Lynchburg, not knowing anyone, I truly love opportunities like this,” said Morgan Jeffreys, first-year student-doctor. “Through LUCOM’s involvement in the community I get to see patients, learn from them, help them, talk with them and invest in the community by giving back as a student-doctor, and that’s really special.”
Students worked in pairs with one as the lead scribe while the other talked directly with the patient. After a patient exam was complete, they would rotate responsibilities. “I would one hundred percent recommend serving at any community event LUCOM is involved with to my classmates because it reminds you why you came to medical school,” said Jeffreys. “You get to practice with each other, learn from each other, learn from your faculty, practice empathy and you get to see a light of hope in your patient’s eyes.”
David F. Klink, DO, senior associate dean of Clinical Affairs and associate professor of Ophthalmology, was able to set up a small eye exam station with students leading vision tests and using ophthalmic instruments. After patients were evaluated for any visual complaints, they were then directed to either the local Lions Club, to assist with obtaining a full examination for glasses, or to a local ophthalmologist for diseases of the eye. “The students had the opportunity to learn how to evaluate a patient with an eye complaint and use advanced ophthalmic instruments and examination techniques as well as learn what kind of impact visual problems have on patient’s daily lives. This type of an event is a win-win, for the patient, and our students,” said Dr. Klink.
All in all, 125 student-doctors volunteered their time on Saturday.
“I think it was amazing to get out and participate. We’re always in class or labs and it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal; why we all want to become doctors,” added Smith. “We come out to these community events, see patients, hear their incredible stories, and it’s encouraging to me. My classmates and I are very patient oriented and working with them reminds me of why I want to be a DO.”
One of the primary goals of the Collaborative is to connect participants with continuing care. “It’s not enough that we come out once a year and provide a service. The purpose of the Collaborative is to provide a tangible reminder of community resources available all year round,” said James Cook, director of Clinical Collaboration and Education. “Employment resources, education and housing, addiction and recovery services, food access, social service providers; they’re all here in Lynchburg. The event just puts us all under one banner for a day.”
Along with LUCOM, the Collaborative is comprised of Virginia Department of Health’s Central Virginia Health District, Liberty University School of Health Sciences, the Lynchburg College Physician Assistant program, Johnson Health Center, and more than 30 other medical, health, and resource providers who are dedicated to improving the health of Lynchburg-area residents.
On Saturday, March 30, one-week prior to the Collaborative, LUCOM was officially awarded a contribution from the Community Benefits Committee of Centra that helped cover all financial necessities of the community event. “This was a community effort owned by all the agencies participating. We could not be more thankful of the financial support provided by Centra. By working together, we all benefit,” said Cook. “LUCOM students benefit by working with their faculty and examining patients, the nonprofits benefit from direct contact with residents in need and ultimately, Lynchburg residents benefit by connecting with resources and medical care providers in one easily accessible area at no charge.”
View images of the student-doctors online at Facebook.com/LibertyMedicine.