Who We Are:
We are Pitt Med students representing the leadership teams of the Health Outreach and Education Project (HOEP) and Students and Latinos United Against Disparities (SALUD). HOEP was founded in 1994 to help the Program for Health Care to Underserved Populations (PHCUP) staff their Birmingham Free Clinic (BFC) and Women’s Center Clinic with medical student volunteers.
The BFC is a community-partnered clinic which serves un- and underinsured and other medically vulnerable groups, at no cost to any patient, throughout Allegheny County, PA. It is one of the longest-operating free clinics in the state. In 1996, HOEP was expanded to include a team of student leaders to help coordinate the PHCUP’s new Women’s Center Clinic, which serves women recovering from intimate partner violence (IPV) in a shelter setting. SALUD was started in 1999 by Pitt Med students who partnered with the BFC to help uninsured Latinos in Allegheny County, and was one of the first safety-net clinics in the region to do so.
As we enter 2019, we are proud to announce the 25th anniversary of the BFC’s opening! What started as a one-room clinic, serving only homeless men, has evolved into a multi-specialty clinic that provides high-quality and compassionate care, medication management, social services and case management to those in need from all walks of life. In 25 years, the Birmingham Free Clinic has seen a 466% increase in patient volume – from roughly 600, to now just over 3,400 patient visits annually. While the BFC has recorded a 25% increase in patient visits in just the past fiscal year, the Women’s Center Clinic has seen a 137% increase.
The University has recognized the importance of health professionals engaging with underserved and at-risk communities as many of us will practice in areas that require caring for this population in the future. Working with these populations has been integrated into our curriculum through clinical experiences that allow us early exposure to interact and manage the complex conditions for those in which continuity of care is difficult to achieve. As student leaders in collaboration with the PHCUP, we recruit and train medical and undergraduate student volunteers for the clinics, encourage students to advocate for the needs of the uninsured, medically vulnerable, victims of IPV, and uninsured Latinos and immigrants.
Through the clinics, HOEP and SALUD strive to provide quality, compassionate, culturally-appropriate and integrated care to vulnerable populations, while encouraging emerging health professionals to get involved in their community. As future healthcare providers, we are honored to have the opportunity to help those in need while actively learning how to care for underserved populations.
About Our Project:
Every year, the medical student leadership teams of HOEP and SALUD host fundraising initiatives that support student education and community outreach. This serves to enrich our professional development and personal growth so that we can become culturally competent healthcare providers that are able to give quality care to any patient we encounter.
Furthermore, our experiences at clinic allow us to understand the challenges that millions of Americans without healthcare face and learn how we can intervene and what resources we can provide to patients.
How You Can Help:
We aim to raise at least $8,000 over the next two months. With your support, we can continue to provide this unique learning experience to health professional students through purchase of equipment for examination rooms and triage rooms, on-site pharmacies, specialty services, smoking cessation, patient transportation costs, and so much more!
In addition to our online fundraising, we run a live, student-run auction for our cause! We auction off a multitude of items and prizes from large to small through in person bidding and a silent gift basket auction. If you are in the area, please come see us at the Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower (200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213) on January 31st, 2019 at 5:00pm!
We understand that not everyone is able to contribute financially, but sharing our link through email and social media can still help us reach our goal! Please join us in our mission to provide excellent and compassionate care to those in most need in our community.
Thank you for your generosity!