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 that 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.
While proper management of common health conditions for uninsured individuals can be financially insurmountable, access to free basic care can have a dramatic effect on quality of life. The student-supported services provided by Birmingham, SALUD and Women’s Center Clinic allow for thoughtful continuous care in populations often left out of the healthcare sphere. Comprehensive preventative care and management of chronic health conditions alleviates health burdens on uninsured communities while minimizing the need for high-cost emergency care.
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. 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 community outreach and student education. The continued strength of these programs serves to facilitate the care of important populations while providing meaningful educational opportunities for medical students. For us, this early exposure to community medicine lays important groundwork for becoming thoughtful physician advocates.
How You Can Help:
Beyond the generous donation of physician time, the services and care that patients receive through HOEP are supported in large part by generous giving from the Pitt community. Financial support received through Engage Pitt and our Birmingham Live Auction Event has helped provide student volunteers with tools to help care for the patient population we serve, like laboratory testing (urinalysis, blood glucose, metabolic panels), preventative care (flu shots, equipment for blood pressure monitoring) and logistic support (secure filing cabinets, new exam table). Money raised also goes toward longer term goals of adding on-site x-ray imaging or ultrasonography at BFC.
We aim to raise at least $7,500 over the next two months. With your support, we can continue to provide this essential resource to underserved populations in our city through purchase of medical equipment, 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 23rd, 2020 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!