Since opening the first MEDiC clinic in 1991, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has partnered with various community organizations to expand health care access among underserved populations. MEDiC currently operates seven clinics at various partner-affiliated locations throughout Madison.
These clinics provide a variety of services, including general medical care, physical therapy, dentistry and mental health care. Patients at MEDiC clinics are seen by students enrolled in UW-Madison's various health professional programs, who work in concert with faculty physicians.
- Grace Clinic
- More Smiles Wisconsin
- Michele Tracy Preventive Health Clinic
- RISE Pediatric Clinic
- Safe Haven Mental Health Clinic
- Salvation Army Clinic
- Southside Clinic
Other initiatives hosted in MEDiC clinics
The first MEDiC clinic was founded by Ted Goodfriend, MD, in February of 1991 at the Porchlight Inc. men's shelter at the Grace Episcopal Church.
Initially, MEDiC stood for MEDical Information Center and was designed to provide health information and guidance to shelter residents. It quickly became clear that what residents really needed was on-site provision of medical treatment.
Grace Clinic now exists to provide health care to underserved homeless men, who reside in the shelter, while offering University of Wisconsin-Madison health professions students the opportunity to provide a community service and broaden their backgrounds in clinical medicine.
At the Grace Clinic, MEDiC student volunteers from different disciplines interview patients in a one-on-one setting. These students present their findings to the resident or attending physician volunteer, who then decides the best treatment option for the patient.
Though the setting is best described as minimalist - no formal exam rooms or high-tech equipment - the high level of interaction with both patients and physicians makes the experience rewarding for students who volunteer.
More Smiles Wisconsin began in 2009 as the Salvation Army Dental Clinic.
It was founded by Lisa Bell, then-state public health dental hygienist, and Drs. Matthew Kutz and Laura Tills, in order to help meet the oral health needs of residents of the Salvation Army homeless shelter. The clinic was established with a grant for set-up costs and equipment and expanded with grants from Delta Dental, the UW-Madison Morgridge Center for Public Service and Heartland Credit Union.
In 2010, More Smiles Wisconsin was established to help ensure the sustainability of this clinic.
MEDiC's collaboration with More Smiles Wisconsin provides student volunteers greater experience dealing with oral and dental health, a topic often touched upon only briefly in the students' respective health professions school. Student roles range from intake and patient history to observing dental procedures and supporting patients throughout their visit.
The Michele Tracy Preventive Health Clinic began as a collection of preventive health clinics designed to benefit the residents of the Porchlight Inc. community.
Porchlight maintains 102 transitional housing units for low-income adults at reduced rates. Many of the residents are either currently or have been previously affected by alcohol and other drug abuse, and a portion of Porchlight residents also suffer from mental and physical health problems.
Lack of education about proper health care and deficiency in self-advocacy skills has made this population more susceptible to illness and poor health care maintenance. In response to this situation, the Michele Tracy Project began to provide educational and emotional support for residents so they might someday assume a stronger role in meeting their individual health care needs.
In late 1999, the project was formally adopted as a MEDiC clinic. It was given the name "Michele Tracy Project" after Michele Tracy, a member of the UW Medical School Class of 2002, was tragically killed during an outreach trip to Africa. The project received a grant to assist in coordination of the clinic, as well as provide funds for various health care supplies needed by the residents.
The following topics have been addressed at clinic:
- General health care
- Flu and respiratory health
- First aid
- Infectious diseases
- Men's/women's/sexual health
- Cardiovascular health
- Vision and hearing screenings
- Dental health
- Summer health
The Michele Tracy Project differs from other MEDiC clinics in that it does not provide acute care. The project focuses on prevention and education for residents of Porchlight. MEDiC students give talks and support to the residents of Porchlight.
The newest MEDiC clinic opened in 2015 under the direction of Dipesh Navsaria, MD, at the RISE Pediatric Clinic. RISE is a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive array of social services dedicated to addressing the broad needs of families in the Madison community.
Many of the children served through RISE come from underserved households, with 85 percent living at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty line.
MEDiC operates one Wednesday per month at RISE, alongside staff from RISE's various family-focused programs, which allows children seen at the clinic to receive both acute medical care and a comprehensive social screening.
This clinic is the first of its kind in the Madison area to offer routine psychosocial screening to address upstream factors, such as access to housing and healthy food, which may affect the health of children and families.
RISE also participates in Reach Out and Read in order to encourage children’s language and literacy development through advice and support of daily reading with children and their parents. Volunteers read to children during clinic visits and give a new book to each child seen.
The MEDiC Safe Haven Mental Health Clinic started in August 1996 by UW medical students under the guidance of Ron Diamond, MD. The clinic operates in the Porchlight Inc. Safe Haven shelter two times per month.
Patients come from both the Safe Haven shelter and through self-referrals or referrals from other MEDiC clinics. Patients may be uninsured, underinsured, or insured.
Under the leadership of Claudia Reardon, MD, Safe Haven has expanded its volunteer base with the addition of psychiatry residents.
Typical complaints encountered include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Alcohol and/or drug addiction
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Homelessness and Mental Health
The second MEDiC clinic opened in 1991 under the direction of Murray Katcher, MD, PhD, at the Salvation Army family and women's shelter. It serves homeless families and single women who reside at the shelter.
The Salvation Army has provided a homeless shelter for the city of Madison since the early 1980s. Housing is for homeless single women and families.
The Tuesday night MEDiC clinic provides medical services on-site and has been invaluable for treating acute illness, as well as helping patients to become established within the Madison medical community.
MEDiC Physical Therapy (PT) student volunteers provide specific PT services to patients at the Salvation Army once each month. Salvation Army Clinic provides Reach Out and Read services to patients to encourage children's language and literacy. Volunteers read to children during clinic and give a new book to each child seen.
The Southside MEDiC Clinic was established in November of 1992 under the direction of Cindy Haq, MD, in response to medical student interest in expanding clinical volunteer opportunities.
In early 2014, the clinic moved to its new location at 2202 S. Park St., where it operates out of the Joyce and Marshall Erdman Clinic, a space generously donated by Access Community Health Centers.
The Southside MEDiC Clinic is currently the only clinic that sees walk-in patients . Most of the patients seen at Southside are adults without medical insurance who come from a wide geographic area. Many are undocumented immigrants with limited options for health care.
An increasing percentage of the patients seen at the clinic speak only Spanish, although patients come from a variety of backgrounds.
MEDiC operates two specialty clinics at its Southside location. Once each month, UW Dermatology faculty provide specialized dermatologic services, and Physical Therapy student volunteers provide PT services at the Southside Clinic.
Reach Out and Read is a national program that supports children's language and literacy development.
It's essential for young children to be on-schedule with learning progress before they begin school. Studies have shown that promoting pediatric literacy leads to significant improvement in preschool language scores - a good predictor of later literacy success.
Reach Out and Read's three main components
Medical and health professions students advise parents on the importance of reading aloud to young children, including age-appropriate strategies for enjoying books with infants and toddlers. As a part of this component, the student volunteers fill out a Reach Out and Read prescriptions for reading aloud.
Children receive a free book in the waiting area or the exam room from a MEDiC volunteer and the volunteers also read aloud to children, modeling the behavior for parents.
Reach Out and Read volunteers strive to provide a positive reading experience for the children and model reading aloud for parents. Some parents may have never seen good reading aloud techniques themselves.
Volunteer readers are often the first face of Reach Out and Read that parents and children see when they arrive for their visit. By listening to stories, children learn that they enjoy books and that being read to is a treat - a message that should be reinforced in the medical visit.
By watching volunteer readers with children, parents can learn how reading aloud works and see how their child enjoys the experience. The goal is for the parent to repeat the activity at home.