Regular Free Health Clinic to Launch in San Bernardino on Nov. 7

UCR School of Medicine students partnering with Lestonnac Free Clinic and UCR chapter of Global Medical Brigades

Hurnan Vongsachang with standardized patient

UCR School of Medicine students are partnering with Lestonnac Free Clinic and the UCR chapter of Global Medical Brigades to host a monthly free clinic in San Bernardino beginning November 7, 2015.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – What began as single-day, once-a-year free clinic for San Bernardino County residents without health coverage will become a regular occurrence in a new partnership between University of California, Riverside medical students, the Lestonnac Free Clinic organization, and the UC Riverside chapter of Global Medical Brigades.

The grand opening of the San Bernardino Free Clinic (SBFC) is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the new Lestonnac Free Clinic site in San Bernardino, located at 401 E. 21st St. near St. Bernardine Medical Center.

The full-service primary care clinic will serve underserved patients with continuity-of-care and educational information provided by nurse practitioners, undergraduate students, and community groups, medical practitioners and medical students supervised by faculty of the UCR School of Medicine. The clinic will offer a variety of health screenings (blood pressure, diabetes, hearing, mental health, and body mass index), flu and pneumonia vaccinations, and acute medical care.

The clinic will be equipped to provide x-rays, on-site EKGs, ultrasounds, and hemoglobin A1c testing. Patients can fill prescriptions at a nearby pharmacy and low-cost lab work will be available for patients through Labcorp, located near the clinic.

Additionally, health and wellness educational information will be provided along with access to various resources in San Bernardino, such as homeless shelters, nutritionists, and social workers. As the clinic becomes established, it will develop a network of specialists to accept low cost referrals. Long-term plans include providing dentistry, vision care, and legal services.

Initially, the clinic will operate the first Saturday of every month, starting Saturday, Nov. 7. The long-term goal is to hold the clinic every Saturday. Patients will be served on a walk-in basis; no appointments are necessary. All members of the community are welcome.

The concept of the San Bernardino Free Clinic emerged when a group of students approached the School of Medicine seeking to expand medical care to the underserved population of San Bernardino.

Medical students Matt Gomez and Nikki Tarui have led the effort. Gomez, SBFC’s clinic director, is a first-year medical student at UCR and a Kaiser Permanente MERIT Scholar. Tarui is a current fourth year student in the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences. Diana Tran and Trina Mansour, both third year students in the UCR medical school, joined the effort to assist in establishing the clinic infrastructure.

Clinic space is being provided by the Lestonnac Free Clinics organization, a partner of the San Bernardino Free Clinic. The clinic will operate based upon its model of successful clinics in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. The UCR chapter of Global Medical Brigades, one of the sponsors of the clinic, will provide the majority of the undergraduate student volunteers and translators for the clinic.

“Our goal is to take a holistic approach with this clinic not only to help meet the patients’ medical needs, but also to improve overall quality of life,” Gomez said. “We seek to accomplish this through the implementation of several programs, such as education through UCR’s Mini Medical School, referrals to specialists, research, support groups and information on services in San Bernardino.”

Mansour has organized patient care teams that will make possible continuity of care. Each team will consist of physicians, medical students, social workers, mental health professionals and undergraduate student volunteers. “The goal of having patient care teams is to allow medical students to learn about their patients’ lifestyle and create a treatment plan that will be personalized,” she said.

“As future healthcare professionals of the Inland Empire, our mission for forming this free clinic is to use a holistic and sustainable approach to address the health disparities of the San Bernardino County and to provide much-needed medical assistance to people who lack access to proper medical care,” Tran said. “We will seek to improve some of the more common health problems in San Bernardino and will intervene to challenge health disparities and chronic diseases.”

flyer for clinic

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