UCI Undergraduate Free Clinic Project Celebrates One Year Anniversary
By Diego Huaman
The An Lanh Clinic in Garden Grove, established by a small group of undergraduate UC Irvine students under the guidance of dedicated physicians and other health-care professionals, has served more than 200 patients since its founding in Dec. 2014.
The clinic was established by students in the Free Clinic Project with the purpose of providing free quality healthcare to the underserved and uninsured community of Orange County.
The approximate annual income of a family of four served by the clinic is about $17,870, which is well below the federal poverty line.
More than 25 students from the Free Clinic Project actively volunteer their time at the clinic every Saturday fulfilling distinct roles including: managing the front or back office, serving as floor managers, as well as patient navigators or educators.
Trained volunteers also assist patients in scheduling appointments, answering questions and taking the patient’s vitals to check their blood pressure level for potential indications of diabetes or hypertension.
The Lestonnac Free Clinic in Orange County provides volunteers at the An Lanh Clinic with medical equipment, training, and other essential resources.
New programs at the clinic include the patient navigator program and the patient education program, in which volunteers assist patients by answering their questions and giving them comfort and inform patients about how they can improve their diet, lifestyle and overall health, respectively.
“Over the course of this past year, this clinic has become a second family to me as I feel it has for our patients,” said Al Anoud Baddour, Vice President of the Free Clinic Project. “I am blessed to have had the opportunity to volunteer with such enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who aspire to make a difference and improve the lives of those in our community.”
In addition to an official board of committed volunteer physicians, other health care professionals and over 50 medical students volunteer their time by meeting with patients and helping diagnose them, ordering labs, writing prescriptions, and scheduling any necessary appointments.
“I am very impressed with how much the An Lanh Free Clinic has accomplished in just one year,” said volunteer physician Cameron Carlen. “I feel fortunate to be involved — even in a small way.”
In order to help bridge the communication gap between patients and their respective physicians, the clinic relies on a group of more than 20 student volunteers who serve as translators, primarily for Vietnamese and Spanish native speakers.
Healthcare professionals educate volunteers on topics dealing with health disparities and ethics. The clinic has also collaborated with the Heart of Delight a non-profit organization, to establish their first Health Fair.
Under the guidance of physician Dr. Vo, students at UC Irvine can now participate in a research program utilizing resources provided by the clinic.
Members of the Free Clinic Project have presented their research at national conferences such as the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the Society of Student Run Free Clinics Members.
“There were many who told us our goal was too ambitious and that it couldn’t be done and yet, this place has now developed into more than just a clinic, it has become a place of learning and resources for both the community and our volunteers,” said co-founder and President Andy Nguyen. “I am amazed and proud of the hard work and dedication of our undergraduate students, medical students, and health providers who all came together to provide care for those in need and made this a reality.”