LUCOM continues with annual partnership during free Lynchburg community clinic
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) faculty, staff and student-doctors volunteered their time and service this past weekend during the Community Care Collaborative | Lynchburg (CCCL). The event, coordinated by the LUCOM Office of Clinical Collaboration and Education (OCCE), impacted the lives of 220 patients with the goal of connecting them to local resources establishing a continuity of care. The CCCL was held at the Salvation Army on Saturday, April 13.
“These type of events give students firsthand experience with real people and the mentoring of student-to-student is incredibly valuable,” said Sig Seiler, MD, associate professor of family medicine. “Students also see the sometimes-hurting people of society. This teaches empathy and compassion and I hope the students, especially first- and second-years [students], take home that working hard has its rewards and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That prayer and spirituality are important parts of people’s lives. That we all work together as a team for the good of Lynchburg.” Dr. Seiler had the pleasure of working with one of LUCOM’s fourth-year students, who mentored the first- and second-year students during the event while performing tasks of an attending physician.
The CCCL was comprised of over 20 local community resources such as Centra Health, Community Connected, Hill City Pharmacy, Horizon Behavioral Health, the Lynchburg Daily Bread, and the Salvation Army to name a few. Hill City Pharmacy was on location to provide 30-day prescriptions and the DMV was available to issue complimentary IDs and driver’s licenses. Liberty University School of Nursing students were the first point of contact for incoming patients in the triage area and offered patient education as well as foot washing and nail care. The University of Lynchburg School of Physician Assistant Medicine students were also present to provide free medical exams.
Liberty’s osteopathic medical students also provided medical exams as well as osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT) and eye exams under the supervision of LUCOM clinical adjunct faculty member, Robert B. Vogel, MD, JD, retina specialist with Piedmont Eye Center.
James Peery, DDS, provided dental screenings and teeth extractions while Jose Cintron, DDS, and his staff at Johnson Health Center, provided teeth cleanings and fillings. Serving alongside each other, over 50 patients were seen for free dental care.
“The opportunity to have this number of community resources, assets, programming, students and services, in one location, for folks in our community, is tremendous. Because they have the opportunity to come to one site. They can receive medical, eye, vision, dental services…they are also connected to community resources and can enroll to receive follow-up care,” said City of Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy.
Referencing the aspiring medical professionals at Liberty University and the University of Lynchburg present during the event, Mayor Tweedy also said, “It makes me feel we are in a blessed city. Because, to have this many medical resources that are able to come into the community and not just serve on their campuses, but to serve within the community and engage with our citizens, engage with our other non-profits and agencies, is huge…it is wonderful.”
LUCOM was able to provide 17 faculty physicians, the most to be present in the college’s history during a local outreach event, and over 100 student-doctors. Working in pairs, the students would rotate responsibilities with one as the lead scribe and the second performing the examination.
“This annual community event is about offering quality care to the patient in a safe, respectful environment. It is another component of the quality of medical education students receive,” said Kathy Bogacz, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine. “It also provides interprofessional education – having medical, nursing, PA, dental, and behavioral health folks all together serving the patients allows for cross-pollination and mutual respect. This continues to foster excellent working relationships and team building across the medical community.”
Liberty University is a Christian, faith-based institution, and during events such as the Community Care Collaborative, Liberty osteopathic medical students are able to place their faith into action. “It’s amazing to see what God is doing here. It reminds me of Luke 10:27, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ What we’re doing at LUCOM, is going out to the community and serving people where they are,” said Liberty University Provost Scott Hicks, PhD. “It’s amazing to see how students at LUCOM, our faculty, our physicians, our clinicians, and our residencies, all coming together, to create value not only regionally, in our city, but nationally and even globally.”
Erika Spearin, second-year student-doctor, was in a unique position as she had several Spanish speaking patients visit her with a provided translator. “I volunteered at the Community Care Collaborative because I wanted to give back to the community. I’ve seen a lot of patients come through including a lot of Spanish speaking patients that might not have easy access to care and I’ve just been really happy to help them resolve some of their problems and leave with better health than when they came in,” she said on Saturday. “Using a translator can be challenging in health care, I have been able to use translators before so I am familiar with that dynamic. The important thing to make sure is that all the comments you are making, you are addressing them to the patient and looking the patient in the eye. That way they know they are being seen and acknowledged and the communication is still getting done.”
Along with dental, medical, and vision, patients that attended the Community Care Collaborative | Lynchburg were also provided addiction recovery resources, car seats, clothing, disability and family, emergency relief, and housing options, if requested.
“I definitely would recommend attending this event not only to the community members but also to the student-doctors. You get to ask a lot of questions, whether it’s related to patient health or academics and the patients have a real positive reaction. Even though someone may come with a minor compliant like allergies, the interaction that we have as student-doctors and even our faculty, can leave a lasting impression,” said Beenish Faraz, first-year student-doctor. “You can tell that some patients don’t get to see a doctor on a regular basis and it’s important that within five minutes of our encounter, we leave a lasting impression and hopefully they [the patient] will return to a physician again. Regardless of their backgrounds we can connect with them and I am just grateful to be here.”
The Community Care Collaborative | Lynchburg was supported by the following organizations:
- Aetna Better Health of Virginia
- Anthem HealthKeepers Plus
- Centra Congregational Health
- Central Virginia Alliance for Community Living
- Central Virginia Community College
- Central Virginia Health District
- The City of Lynchburg
- Community Connected
- DMV [Virginia]
- Hill City Pharmacy
- Horizon Behavioral Health
- Johnson Health Center
- LACIL Disability Services
- Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Liberty University School of Health Sciences
- Liberty University School of Nursing
- The Lighthouse
- Lynchburg Daily Bread
- Lynchburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority
- Park View Community Mission
- The Salvation Army
- University of Lynchburg (Physician Assistant Medicine)
- Wholesome Informed Choices/Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
“The mission and vision of Liberty University is to train Champions for Christ and these events serve to further that aim for our LUCOM students. They offer excellent medical training for them to grow in skill and knowledge, and also allow our students to champion the cause of Christ by loving others and serving them unselfishly,” said Sydney Coffey, coordinator of clinical collaboration and education. “These events allow LUCOM to put action to our words – we get to train Champions for Christ in practical, tangible ways outside of the classroom.”
Read the News and Advance story.
Read about Liberty’s annual Serve Lynchburg initiative.