ACP Maryland Chapter Volunteerism Committee
What does it mean to know a community, let alone, feel like you truly belong to one? A group of Baltimore medical, graduate, and undergraduate students decided to find out when they partnered with community leaders in East Baltimore’s McElderry Park and Middle East neighborhoods to form the Charm City Clinic, a free walk-in clinic based in the Perkins/Middle East neighborhood of East Baltimore. The goal of the student-community partnership is to increase access to and improve quality of health care for low-income residents. The Clinic is located at the Men and Family Center, a nonprofit organization whose goals include providing men with parenting and life skills, health education and job placement assistance.
The students conducted an informal survey of residents who reside in the Perkins/Middle East neighborhood, and found that access to primary care was sorely lacking despite the fact the neighborhood is located in the shadow of two hospitals. The students created Charm City Clinic, which exists to provide health education, navigation through the health care system, and screening health services. A Health Resource Center assists residents in identifying medical resources and completing applications for these services. The Clinic staff meets regularly with community leadership, so that its services are always tailored to the needs of its residents. In addition, there is a free walk-in medical clinic on Saturdays between 12pm and 5 pm. Volunteer physicians, as well as medical, pharmacy, nursing and college students from Johns Hopkins schools and the University of Maryland graduate schools staff the free clinic. Volunteers provide a variety of administrative services, as well as counseling about preventative health, nutrition, or chronic disease. Volunteers also assist individuals identify and apply for pharmacy assistance programs. Charm City Clinic, Inc is a student-run, non-profit, 501c3 organization with a physician advisory board.
Dr. Eugene Shenderov is the founding Co-Director of Grants and Research at the Clinic. He obtained his PhD in tumor immunology, and is currently a second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. What drew him to help start this entirely student-run clinic, was the ability to contribute to the community and be inspired by individuals working hard to improve themselves and their community. “As students, my colleagues and I learned of a need and wanted to assist to the best of our current knowledge and training.”
Student volunteers are needed who are interested in providing health education, navigation, and medical services. On-site training is available. As stated on their Web site, “We are looking for students who are personable, passionate, enthusiastic, and are willing to make a serious commitment to both our organization and the community of East Baltimore.” Physician volunteers willing to serve in a supervisory role to students are also needed. Physician volunteers should contact the Clinic’s Executive Director, Thomas Heflin.
Page updated: 01/28/11