Volunteers in Medicine:
A partnership between Volunteers in Medicine Jacksonville and UNF
fourteen years, UNF students from the Brooks College of Health, including nursing and nutrition, have seen patients weekly, with public health, health administration, and mental health counseling students assisting as needed. They have been joining the health professionals—Doctors,
Nurses, Pharmacists, etc.—who all volunteer their expertise and time at
Jacksonville’s Volunteers in Medicine clinic. No one who “works” there gets
paid, so students, alongside current and retired health professionals, are all
giving of their time and talents.
is a unique and engaging place. It makes for a very special atmosphere," says
Mary Pat Corrigan, Director of VIM. The passion
of the professionals (with at least 38% of volunteers having served five years
or more) inspires the students. It is a
perfect mix for providing health care to the working uninsured. The
professionals provide years, often decades, of experience, some continuing to
volunteer even after retirement. They
report that the youthful energy of UNF adds to the dynamism of the free
healthcare clinic. It is a very special
place that lives the value that
everyone deserves quality healthcare.
partnership is reciprocity at its best.
UNF students benefit because they learn in an interdisciplinary clinic;
the non-profit benefits from the commitment of the students. With a special
emphasis on providing health care to women, UNF students have enabled VIM to
conduct 8,000 Pap smears a year. VIM also
provides specialty medical services, on-going health promotion, and disease prevention
and awareness of how social problems impact health.
has shown that even basic health care is often out of reach for more than
80,000 working Jacksonville residents.
That may seem surprising given all the attention Health Care has
received in the news. Licensed
pharmacist and regular VIM volunteer Dixie Murphy put it into context, she has expressed seeing the need for prescriptions decline when the Affordable Care Act first
became law. However, the demand has
risen in recent years, and the partnership between the UNF faculty, staff and
students has assisted Volunteers in Medicine in advancing its mission.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
hundred thirty professionals volunteer at VIM each month. They and the UNF
faculty assist students in a way that could never be simulated
on campus. Students get real time
evaluation of their knowledge and skills, while sorting out the complexity of
health factors in people’s lives. Because of this partnership, VIM has been able to expand its future
goals and track its research to improve the quality of care provided.
For more information on UNF's Brooks College of Health, please visit: http://www.unf.edu/brooks/.
For more information on Volunteer's in Medicine, please visit: https://vim-jax.org/