Tulane School of Medicine’s Student Clinic Council (SCC) has embraced the important mission of providing access to health care for underserved populations in New Orleans.
SCC is a collection of medical student volunteers who operate free clinics throughout the city. Under the leadership of Helen Pope, an SCC faculty adviser and instructor of medicine at the medical school, and Mallory Loe, this year’s SCC president and third-year medical student, SCC expanded its offerings to 30 clinics across the Greater New Orleans area this spring.
“During my first clinic leader shift at Ozanam Inn, a patient thanked us for holding clinic and said, ‘If you all weren’t here, a lot of us would not receive any health care.’ This statement is the epitome of why I wanted to become a clinic leader — to provide free medical services for our community members who do not have the means to access it on their own. I am grateful and honored to play a small part in caring for the people of New Orleans,” said Neha Arora, a second-year medical student and preceptor leader at Ozanam Inn.
Expanding their services is a priority for SCC, which served over 3,000 patients this year. SCC clinics offer a vaccine krewe at six sites, patient education at two sites, preceptor clinics at six sites, a specialty referral clinic at one site and screening and testing services at 15 locations.
The vaccine krewe currently offers flu, pneumococcal and Hepatitis A vaccines and hopes to offer COVID vaccines in the near future.
The preceptor clinics, located at Bridge House, Street Health, Ozanam Inn, New Orleans Mission, Luke’s House and Grace House, serve as a bridge to primary care for patients. Many patients do not have access to consistent primary care, so SCC has a unique and essential role to help meet these needs and allow patients to take ownership of their health. For example, leaders at Luke’s House determined a need in their patient population and are now working with residents from LSU Health to offer ophthalmology services.
The specialty referral clinic, Fleur de Vie Nola East, offers multiple subspecialties including dermatology, nephrology and endocrinology. In addition to clinic services, patient education programs are offered at Bridge House and Grace House.
Other clinical services operated by SCC are the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) Screening Clinic, tuberculosis screening clinics at six sites throughout the city and Acacia, which provides screening services for sexually transmitted infections as well as counseling resources at eight sites.
The services provided by SCC to the New Orleans community serve as an inspiration for both volunteers and patients alike. “The site at the Broadmoor food bank brings care to the community in a way that’s different from our other Acacia sites. It’s so fun to sit down with the patients from the neighborhood and see them on a regular basis. The patients make me feel welcome and part of the community, and I hope I am doing the same for them. I absolutely love spending my Monday mornings in Broadmoor!” said Carlisle Washburne, a second-year medical student and Acacia leader at the Broadmoor food pantry.
The SCC is always in need of preceptor physicians and medical student leaders to provide care for patients and to further the clinic projects. To learn more about SCC, click here. If interested in volunteering or contributing to a specific clinic project, reach out here.