LUCOM student-doctors provide quality care, focus on service during Martinsville community clinic
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) faculty, staff and student-doctors visited Martinsville, Va., this past Saturday, Nov. 3, as part of the Community Care Collaborative | Martinsville (CCCM). This event, annually coordinated by the LUCOM Office of Clinical Collaborations and Education (LUCOM-OCCE), is designed to serve the neighboring community of Martinsville through medical outreach, impacting lives for the better and improving the overall health of the residents.
The CCCM consists of nonprofit organizations surrounding Martinsville with the mission of increasing access to various services and connecting residents of the city with access to care regardless of insurance or income status. The outreach event was held at the Uptown Ministry Center in downtown Martinsville and welcomed just under 200 patients. This was the fourth time that such an event has been hosted in Martinsville.
LUCOM had 13 faculty members, five members of its staff and collectively 110 student-doctors that served in shifts throughout the event. “The Martinsville outreach is a great event that LUCOM gets to be a part in helping communities provide more access to health care for people that have a lot of issues obtaining it on a regular basis,” said Hannah Jordan, second-year student-doctor. “We get to meet all these people, help them, and they are very grateful that they can be seen. These experiences are also great because as a second-year it’s an opportunity to put into practice what I am learning.” LUCOM had student-doctors from all four of its current classes volunteer throughout the day.
LUCOM-OCCE had to limit the number of volunteer positions available within the medical clinic due to an overwhelming response and had to wait-list student-doctors looking to volunteer. Some students came purely to volunteer wherever additional help was needed. “This event provides a rich educational experience for our students, and is a great inter-professional educational experience as well,” said Kathleen P. Bogacz, MD, FACP, chief medical officer. “This benefits LUCOM students as well as the nursing and PA students who are participating. It also benefits the university as a whole in accomplishing its mission of educating compassionate and competent students. It’s an opportunity for our students to serve, which grows them in both character and skill. We want to send forth doctors with exemplary compassion and servant leadership.”
LUCOM students paired together and provided medical care to all patients coming through the event under the supervision of LUCOM faculty clinicians. “LUCOM has a great vision for the underserved,” said Chad K. Brands, MD, associate dean of Graduate Medical Education. “This venue gives the opportunity to really allow the student-doctors to engage with patients in the region through basic assessments and practicing fundamental history and physical exam skills. They’re enjoying what they are doing and hopefully also sharing their knowledge and applying it to patient care.”
For LUCOM-OCCE, medical outreach events such as the CCCM are important, because they serve as a bridge for connecting patients for follow-up care within their area. “A crucial component of the event is that patients get connected to someone who will provide ongoing care for them after the event ends,” said Dr. Bogacz. “If one life is impacted, the event has been a success. All the hours of planning and preparation are worth it if even one person walks away having experienced the love of Jesus and a better quality of life. As a Christian University, that is the underlying foundational goal of all we do.”
Ophthalmological care was also available to patients provided by David F. Klink, DO, senior associate dean of Clinical Affairs. Twelve medical students worked alongside Dr. Klink throughout the day, caring for patients with more complicated medical and visual histories. Offsite, Dr. Theresa Bechtel and Dr. Oliver Ali opened their optometry office to many patients as well, performing refractions and checking glaucoma pressures.
Returning third- and fourth-year student-doctors volunteered during the event and were available throughout the medical clinic supervising and assisting in areas of osteopathic manipulative treatments. “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to work with our fellow students. I had a case where a third-year was able to help me and teach me a technique while with the patient and was a great outcome of release in the patient’s shoulder. He was able to move it a lot better and decrease the pain,” said Vijay Veerula, second-year student-doctor. “It’s a great experience to be able to work together with everyone.”
A number of other colleges and universities took part in the CCCM, providing various services for patients of the community. University of Lynchburg (UL) – School of PA Medicine was represented by 17 students and four faculty members. Averett University School of Nursing, under the direction of Nancy Dameron, assistant professor of Nursing Education, had 40 student-nurses and seven faculty/staff on site. Patrick Henry Community College was represented by 20 nursing students and one faculty member. All nursing students participated in one of several areas: patient intake (welcoming patients, taking their vital signs and finding out their main health concerns), patient education (providing education on diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking cessation, and nutrition), and the lab (assisting with fingerstick blood draws for blood sugar levels and A1C levels as well as urine tests for pregnancy and urinalysis).
The Danville Community College Dental Hygiene Program setup a robust dental clinic for oral screenings, teeth cleanings, extractions and fillings. With eleven dental chairs filled throughout the day, many patients were served, who otherwise might wait up to two years for dental care within this region.
The most valuable gift you can give anyone is time. Time together, time to think, but most importantly, time to listen. During the CCCM, LUCOM provided behavioral health care with a psychologist and two student-doctors providing real-time counseling. “I thought that given where they are at in their medical education, I was really impressed by the how well the students did, how well they stepped up and how much they cared about the patients,” said Linda S. Mintle, PhD, chair, LUCOM Division of Behavioral Health. “I think the patients really benefit from people who take the time to listen, one of the problems of modern medicine is that people don’t get a lot of time with their doctor, and in an event like this we took a lot of time to listen to them and hear their story, to find out more about their lifestyles, not just medical symptoms, but how their whole life is being impacted by the things they came in here for.”
Patients that attended the CCCM were provided with the following care:
- Doctor Visits
- Flu Shots
- Mental Health
- Emergency Relief
- Disability and Family
- Foot and Nailcare
- Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)
“Being able to step out of the classroom, really showed me why I chose to be a doctor,” said Michaela Gartman, first-year student-doctor. “I really like how we benefit the community and not doing ‘drive-by’ medicine, but doing the connections afterward. Being able to set patients up with resources in the community to overall better their health. We really take in the osteopathic model of body, mind, and spirit and we’re really working to develop that in every patient.”
The Community Care Collaborative | Martinsville was supported by the following organizations:
- Boys and Girls Club of the Blue Ridge
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
- Community Dream Center
- Community Recovery Program
- Department of Social Services
- Disability Rights and Resource Center
- Grace Network
- Hope Center
- Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA
- Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness
- Piedmont Autism Action Group (PAAG)
- Piedmont Community Services
- Pregnancy Care Center
- Reflections Salon and Day Spa
- Salvation Army
- Southern Area Agency of Aging
- Southside Survivor Response Center
- United Way of Henry County and Martinsville
- Veteran's Association
- Virginia Employment Commission - Commonwealth of Virginia
- WIC Program
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