The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s Medical Student Run Clinic (PLFSOM MSRC) operates twice a month in Sparks, a census-designated community in East El Paso of more than 8,000 without basic city services including water, sewage, trash pick-up or public transportation. Its population is both underserved and largely uninsured.
In addition to providing free primary health care services such as diagnostics, blood work and cancer screenings, the MSRC provides educational outreach in English and Spanish to increase awareness of and approaches to managing diseases and conditions that commonly affect the U.S.-Mexico border population. PLFSOM students manage all clinic operations, from triage and registration to patient care and discharge, under direct supervision of volunteer physicians. Students also conduct breast cancer screenings.
Since its founding in 2013, the MSRC has received more than 1,465 patient visits, and has not only gained the community’s trust, but has become the primary source of health care to patients in this area.
The MSRC operates largely on outside funding. In July, for instance, the clinic provided 28 free clinical breast exams through a $7,500 American Breast Cancer Foundation grant and hopes to hold another mammogram drive soon if additional funding can be found.
“Investing in the health of the Paso del Norte region benefits us all. We are privileged to have supporters like the American Breast Cancer Foundation, El Paso Electric, and the Stern Foundation that are committed to providing health education, breast care services and diagnostic laboratory testing to the underserved.”
Maureen Francis, M.D., FACP Assistant Dean for Medical Education
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