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Volunteers in Medicine:

A partnership between Volunteers in Medicine Jacksonville and UNF




Volunteers in Medicine Jacksonville sign

For 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.


“It 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.


Two doctors giving a patient a check upPASSION FOR PROVIDING HEALTHCARE

This 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. 


Research 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. 


PREPARING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE A doctor checking a patient's breathing with stethoscope

Two 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:

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