Earlier this month, a few WCCC Members attended the New York Student Run Free Clinic conference at the Ichan School of Medicine. A yearly event, this conference aims to bring together student leadership of the student run free-clinics in the city, providing a forum to learn from experts in the field, communicate research findings, and discuss pertinent healthcare issues. This year, Junior board members Nicky Blobel and Annie Yau were both able to attend for the first time. As a first year medical student, Annie is new to the board and thought that the conference was a great way to “learn more about other NYC student run clinics, share ideas, and absorb information”. Through the breakout sessions, Annie was able to gain an appreciation for different care models use by other student run free clinics in the city and thinks that the conference allowed her to reflect on how the WCCC could incorporate some of these changes.
First year Nicky Blobel also believed the conference allowed him to critically consider the services provided by the WCCC and ways to further improve care. As the Physician Recruitment Coordinator, Nicky is particularly interested in how we can continue to improve access to care from a provider side. Attending this conference allowed him to engage in small group discussions that help him reflect on immediate ways to continue to improve the WCCC. While the WCCC recently added a dietician counseling service, Nicky believes that “it would be useful to expand on this and provide information on nutrition to all of our patients in the form of an educational pamphlet, or even mobile phone application”.
Both Nicky and Annie enjoyed connecting to other medical students through the sharing of ideas, difficulties, and plans for future. Spending an afternoon learning from others who are passionate about providing access to the underserved populations of New York gave Annie “an incredible appreciation for what an amazing job the WCCC directors do to support the clinic” both in “delivering robust patient care but also in looking long-term to the future”.
Members of the WCCC attended another community health fair this weekend! Third Avenue Health Fair: Eat Your Colors was a big hit yesterday at the 3rd Avenue Fair.
We partnered with the dietitians from NYP’s Ambulatory Nutrition Service and welcomed ‘participants’ with a colorful array of fruits and veggies, tips to eat foods of different colors (variety is key!), recipe cards, and 10 raffle prizes for Farmer’s Market Green Bucks (each worth $10). We handed out apples and oranges. It was a fun way to positively impact the community!
Last weekend members and volunteers from the WCCC continued our tradition of participating in local health fairs to help educate our community on healthy living. We tabled a booth at the Frederick Douglas Family Day where we educated families on hidden sugar inside popular food items that they might consume. First year medical student volunteers led the activity and advised participants that “added sugar is not so sweet!” We also talked with people about the WCCC and the services we provide. It was a nice afternoon spent on the Upper West Side!
This summer, the WCCC had some undergraduate students volunteering at the front desk of our clinic every week. We were so excited to be able to introduce these students to the health care field and the type of patients we see at our clinic. We spoke to one of our volunteers, Chola Kondeti, a rising fourth-year from St. Bonaventure University, about his experience with us.
“With an interest to pursue a career in medicine and passion for conducting altruistic work, I have chosen to volunteer at Weill Cornell Community Clinic in order to acquaint with the hospital environment while simultaneously contributing towards providing healthcare to uninsured individuals of New York City who do not receive adequate medical treatment. My observation is that WCCC impacts the community by supporting other groups as well as promoting well-being. Unlike similar facilities it not only provides low cost or free services in the areas of primary care, women’s health, psychiatry and laboratory tests/procedures targeting the ailment, but also instills comfort in patients taking solace in the drug reimbursement, social work, health education and insurance eligibility screening programs which assist them further. Thus far I consider this to be a positive experience based on my various interactions, from talking with junior and senior clinicians who answer questions, organize professional events, give valuable advice and otherwise create a supportive environment to greeting happy patients and deriving gratification knowing they were properly cared for. Handling front desk responsibilities has perhaps most importantly allowed development of my professional conduct, efficient work strategy skills, and effective communication essential for pursuing my future academic and career-related aspirations.”
Thank you so much Chola and our other students for helping out this summer, we hope you enjoyed your time with the WCCC!
This month’s spotlight is Neville Dusaj, Student Scheduler:
“I currently serve the WCCC by scheduling volunteer students to assist at the clinic, ranging from the senior clinicians who lead patient visits, to the junior clinicians who attend to learn more about patient care, to the volunteers at the front desk who help ensure the clinic runs smoothly. I enjoy my position most because it allows me to connect the clinic to our community of medical students, and ensure that not only are there enough students to serve our patients as best as possible, but that students also have the opportunity to learn from their experiences at the clinic. Since starting medical school, I have been interested in trying to help the clinic move forward with its mission of providing care to some of the most vulnerable patient populations. Not only has my current position made that possible, but it has also allowed me to engage with the clinic in many other ways, such as assisting with the annual fundraiser. Beyond that, being able to volunteer at the clinic has been a truly eye-opening experience. Getting to see the struggles that some of our patients endure has shown me a side of medicine that just isn’t easily taught in the classroom setting. Having the privilege of working with the WCCC has been one of my most impactful experiences thus far in medical school, and I will take these experiences with me through the rest of my career.”
Our Board Member spotlight this month is Mariam Gadjiko, Gyn Referral Services.
“As the Women’s Health Referrals Coordinator, I am responsible for making sure that the patients we see in our Women’s Clinic are scheduled for any necessary imaging and procedures outside of our clinic as well as for any follow-up appointments with outside specialists. For many women in the New York City area, our clinic is the only way that they are able to gain access to valuable screening and early detection services, and it is so rewarding to know that I play a small part in providing our patients the well-woman care that they need and deserve. The gratification that many of our patients express when I interact with them always brightens up my day and reminds of the many reasons that I chose to go into the medical field! Getting a chance to work with patients in a clinical setting and seeing how medical care is provided to uninsured communities has been a perfect addition to my medical education.”
Last week the Weill Cornell Community Clinic successfully held its annual fundraiser Without a Safety Net! Faculty, students, and community members gathered together to help celebrate and support all of the work done by the WCCC to provide health care to those without access. We had over 100 attendees at the fundraiser and twenty one of the twenty two silent auction items were sold. We’d like to say thank you so much to our caterers, Great Perfomances, for providing all of our guests with delicious food and full stomachs.
Thank you again to our amazing directors Dr. Charney (Medicine Clinic), Dr. Allen (Women’s Clinic), and Dr. Lohista (Psych Clinic) for their time and commitment. Special shout out to this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Service Award, Dr Bruneus, for her dedication to the WCCC. And finally, we would also like to give a huge shout out to our Fundraising Director, Kalee Shah, for planning such an amazing event!
We are thrilled by the great success of this year’s fundraiser and would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the WCCC.