The USC student chapter of the American Medical Association has joined with New York-based Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) to create a free clinic in Hollywood, which is expected to open in January.
Funded through a $300,000 California Endowment grant awarded to PATH, the clinic will offer basic medical care, checkups, flu shots, health education and other services three days a week, said Mary Mazel, a second-year medical student and president of the AMA student chapter at USC.
“The goal is to provide medical care to anyone in the community who can’t afford it,” she said, adding that organizers ultimately aim to expand to daily operation, including weekends and after-hours services.
The clinic will be inside a two-story PATH building at 340 N. Vermont Ave., and staffed by one board-certified internal medicine physician and one nurse practitioner supplemented by numbers of volunteer medical students. A board of directors composed solely of university faculty will oversee the clinic, Mazel said.
“One of our goals is to make the clinic an outpatient site for third- and fourth-year medical students – to use it as a major education site for our students, as well as for the community. For example, we plan to teach how to perform breast self-exams, teach about proper childhood health care and vaccines, and about sexually transmitted diseases,” she said.
The clinic will also supplement PATH’s services for the homeless, which include mental health programs and access to social workers.
The California Endowment grant to PATH will provide seed money to get the clinic running, Mazel said; future grants may follow from the same source to keep it running. Meanwhile, the clinic will seek reimbursement under California programs for treating the poor.
About 10 medical students are now working the phones to line up donations of medical equipment and supplies, drugs and money to support the clinic when it opens.
“They’ve all been working very hard – surfing the Net to solicit donations from pharmaceutical companies and health companies for anything they can spare. They’re really sacrificing their time to make this all happen,” she said.
To volunteer or provide donations of cash or medical supplies, contact Mary Mazel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 882-0895.