AMA House of Delegates
AMA meeting: Medical students take skills to Chicago neighborhood
■ Student service project helps the uninsured gain access to care.
By Myrle Croasdale — Posted July 16, 2007
- ANNUAL MEETING 2007
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Chicago -- More than 100 children and adults from the city's Hermosa neighborhood received free health care screenings June 15, courtesy of American Medical Association student and physician members.
John Vasudevan, MD, a new medical school graduate and member of the AMA Medical Student Section, helped organize the service event held at The Gap Community Center.
"The object of this health fair was not only to provide a snapshot of health but to emphasize the importance of regular follow-up care," Dr. Vasudevan said. "Sometimes the biggest barrier is knowing where you can go." Both students and neighborhood activists tried to break down that barrier.
Parents of eligible children were encouraged to sign up for the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Also, collaborating organizations, including the Healthy Hermosa Coalition, provided information on community clinics where parents could get routine care.
Board Trustee Chris DeRienzo, a fourth-year medical student at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., said health care access for the uninsured is a national problem the AMA student section wants to address.
"We hope to make these screenings a tradition at AMA meetings," DeRienzo said.
Some 30 students participated in the Chicago service project, along with four physician volunteers.
DeRienzo said AMA student chapters across the country also plan to organize screenings to draw attention to the uninsured issue. In April, many chapters organized screenings in support of Cover the Uninsured Week, and more are planned for September, as the new school year begins.