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Celebrating a New Health Outreach Project Clinic

April 20, 2015

Medical students at Drexel University are required to do some type of meaningful community service as part of the College of Medicine’s first-year curriculum. The majority of students continue to volunteer for community service projects above and beyond their first-year requirements, with many opting to volunteer at one of the college’s student-run Health Outreach Project (HOP) clinics.

Now, Drexel University College of Medicine is proud to announce the addition of another HOP clinic site at The Arc of Philadelphia. The Arc of Philadelphia protects the rights of and promotes opportunities for children and adults with disabilities by advocating with and for all children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to promote active citizenship, self-determination and full inclusion.

The Drexel University College of Medicine HOP clinic at The Arc is the first medical student–run free clinic dedicated to serving intellectually disabled adults in the country. Medical students provide a weekly walk-in clinic at The Arc day center in North Philadelphia and participate in the HealthMeet screening and prevention program under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. HealthMeet is a CDC-funded initiative through The Arc which consists of a head-to-toe screen that also includes health and wellness questions about nutrition, health care access, and other issues. Students also provide acute care visits and do some monitoring of chronic illness like high blood pressure. 

“Being able to interact with a person with intellectual disability as a part of their normal routine rather than in a hospital or office setting is a really special opportunity and our students love it,” said Olivia Ruth, a second-year medical student who volunteers at The Arc HOP clinic and serves as the clinic’s steering coordinator. “The participants are a true joy to be around.”

“The mission of our HOP clinics is to work in partnership with the community to provide caring, nonjudgmental and interdisciplinary health services to individuals who have limited or no access to care,” said Valerie Weber, MD, vice dean for educational affairs. “We strive to create a respectful environment in which patients, students, community members and health professionals work and learn together to address community health issues in innovative ways.”

In addition to the newest location at The Arc of Philadelphia, HOP clinics are maintained at the Salvation Army inpatient substance abuse treatment center, Eliza Shirley Shelter for homeless mothers and their children, the Street Side mobile clinic for intravenous drug users, and the Chinatown Clinic, which has been in operation for close to 20 years and services a large number of Asian and other immigrants and refugees. The clinics provide some prescriptions at no cost and refer patients to medical and social services and support networks.

Drexel has opened a new Health Outreach Project clinic at The Arc of Philadelphia