Student-run free clinic offers hands-on learning

school with the idea that I would
provide medical care to underserved communities. I just thought that that
would be a part of what I did. To me, it’s about knowing
what other people are dealing with in order to understand
how to better help them. One of my feelings
has always been that health care
is a human right. And, unfortunately, in
this country it’s not true. Community-based medicine
is much more than just the basic science. It’s understanding
that patients come from a variety of
different backgrounds and that every person
comes with their own story. I grew up in Los Angeles,
California, in South Central, where there’s not a
lot of role models. There’s crime everywhere. And it’s difficult to navigate
through an environment like that. And it’s difficult to get
proper access to health care. And I feel that because I
came from that environment, I understand that need. I was first exposed to medicine
as a really little kid. So I was born with a heart
murmur, a congenital heart defect. So I had to see
pediatric cardiologists. Just all growing up, I had to
go to the doctor all the time. And I loved going to the doctor. So most kids, like they pretty
much hate going to the doctor. You have to drag them
kicking and screaming. But my cardiologist
wanted to see my grades. He wanted to make sure
that I was exercising. He want to make sure
that I was eating well. So that was kind of my
first exposure to medicine. And I realized there’s a
certain level of compassion and there’s a certain level
of care that can be achieved. The Arbor Free Clinic is one
of the Cardinal free clinics of the student-run clinics
here at Stanford, whose mission is to serve patients
who don’t have any other alternative
means for health care and to serve as a
learning environment for the Stanford
medical students. We typically have first
and second-year students come into clinic as
preclinical students. And especially during
your first year, you have really no experience
in how to interview a patient, how to perform a physical. You’re barely
learning those skills. And when they come into Arbor,
they get to practice that. I’m a first-year
medical student. I don’t know everything yet. I only know a little bit. And so the first times
was pretty funny, but I think the patients
are pretty understanding. The nice thing about Arbor
is that it is not a hierarchy at all. A lot of people have
this preconception that medicine is very much your
attending physician at the top, and your residents and your
medical students at the bottom. But the thing about Arbor
is everyone’s a volunteer. And so the physicians
that come here come here because they
like to teach students. To have someone really
guide you and not have to be afraid that
you’re doing something wrong, that’s just really nice. Most medical school curricula
is focused in the classroom. There’s a wide body of
knowledge that medical students have to acquire in
the first two years to start to get comfortable
with the pathophysiology of the different
medical problems that people will come
into their clinic with. But they can’t get the
hands-on experience of seeing the actual
burden of disease in an individual patient without
interacting with that patient. Just seeing the cases that
we see regularly at clinic, you learn a lot about
respiratory infections or abdominal pain and
what are the causes. You get to correlate
that with what you learn in lecture and
through our textbooks. One of the biggest challenges I
think that the students face is when they come
here, they’ll say, oh, this person needs
this and that and this. And then they realize that
they can’t get all that. They can’t get everything
that they themselves would get if they
went to the doctor. I think a lot of medical
students come in, understandably so, with sort
of a god complex of wanting to fix everything, of
wanting to change the world. And that’s certainly
what I want to do and I think what all my
classmates would love to do. But I think Arbor shows
that there’s a limitation and there’s only
so much we can do. And hopefully, by
kind of gathering all these experiences, you
can implement something at a higher level
and sort of advocate for all of these patients
at a policy level, or whether it be
a community level. Everybody is in
need of health care. And we’re trying
to provide that, and we’re trying
to fit that need. But yet we’re still lacking. Like today, I had
to tell some people that we couldn’t
serve them today. We all need to be
activists in health care. And if we weren’t, we
would just go along and take care of our
individual patients and not deal, really, with
the big picture that is often a big problem in health
care, is systems changes. And unless you’re
involved in the trenches and see that early
on, then you may not see some of the solutions. These are patients
who slip through gaps in our current
health care system and really are only caught
by some form of a safety net. So what this clinic does
is it gives the students an opportunity to be
a part of the safety net for filling those gaps. It’s just been a great
experience for me to be involved with
over the years, seeing the energetic students,
seeing them make a difference in so
many patients’ lives. For some of these
people, you may be the one person who
really cares about them, or the one person who
can actually help them. We are playing a
role in their lives, a significant role
in their lives. And I think that is what
is so rewarding to me, is seeing it played out and
seeing them then come back to us and tell us how we have
played a role in their lives. I mean, that’s just beautiful. [MUSIC PLAYING] The preceding program
is copyrighted by the Board of Trustees of
the Leland Stanford Junior University. Please visit us [MUSIC PLAYING]

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