Equal Access Birmingham (EAB), a medical student group at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, will open a clinic to provide medical care to underserved Jefferson County residents on Nov. 11, 2012. The clinic, to be located in the Church of the Reconciler, will provide basic primary care to residents in the Jefferson County Housing Authority Shelter Care Plus program.
The clinic will operate on Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and will be entirely managed and run by UAB medical students, with medical oversight by physicians from the school’s faculty. EAB students have also staffed a free clinic associated with M-Power Ministries in Avondale since 2007. EAB will continue to staff that clinic, which meets on Wednesday evenings and is designed to help provide acute care for the medically underserved, in addition to the new primary care clinic.
The clinic’s patients will come from the Shelter Care Plus program, which works to provide affordable housing, job training and support for its approximately 100 participants.
“The new EAB clinic will add a medical component, providing ongoing primary care services to the program participants as they work to become self-sufficient and ultimately graduate and move on from the program,” says Richard Cockrum, president of EAB and a second-year medical student.
EAB was created in 2005 to provide UAB medical students with learning opportunities and service experiences with the underserved and vulnerable populations of the Birmingham area.
|EAB Clinic Open House
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012
Church of the Reconciler, 112 14th St. North
“We hope the new clinic will not only serve the population in a more sustainable, primary care manner but also expose pre-clinical students to a variety of health-care needs,” says Lizzy Varnell, a second-year medical student who is vice president of EAB.
The clinic will be housed in the Church of the Reconciler, 112 14th St. North, in Birmingham. It contains the standard equipment and materials found in a typical physician’s office. Medical supplies and equipment were purchased with funds raised by EAB over the past several years, matched by a donation from the School of Medicine.
EAB has also acquired a formulary of basic medications — to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, for example — that will be available free of charge to clinic patients.
“As we begin operation, our clinic will be staffed by medical students, but in the future, we hope to collaborate with other health professional schools such as dentistry, optometry and public health to provide a complete medical home for our patients,” says Nishi Shah, clinic director and a second-year medical student. “We also intend to offer counseling and social work services as we expand the clinic in future months.”
EAB will hold an open house at 1:00 p.m. on Nov. 11 to showcase the facility. The clinic will see its first patients later that afternoon.
The student leaders of EAB credit the lessons learned during the organization’s five years of service at the M-Power clinic as instrumental in preparing them to open the new clinic. They anticipate that the new location will provide medical students with a more complete understanding of the needs of the medically underserved.
“EAB exposes medical students to clinical and socioeconomic factors that contribute to health disparities,” says Cockrum. “Our goal is to train future doctors to provide quality care for all individuals and continue to work in underserved communities throughout their careers.”