Carle Illinois Students Awarded New Grant to Increase Access to Local Health Care; Expands Reach to Shelter Medicine | Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Students at Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED) have received a new grant that will allow them to increase access to health care resources for the underinsured and uninsured. Student Family Medicine Cares USA Existing Clinic Award Grant from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

It is awarded for the work and research of CI MED students at the Avicenna Community Health Center, a free clinic for the underinsured and uninsured in Champaign County, Illinois. The center provides longitudinal care to an underserved population who would otherwise be unlikely to receive care.

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“Avicenna plays an important role in increasing access to health care. It provides curative and preventive health services in a culturally appropriate manner using innovative solutions,” said Annabelle Shaffer, second-year medical student and grant and research program leader.

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CI MED’s Avicenna program was one of three clinics in the United States to receive an AAFP grant in 2022. The grant will provide sufficient funds to purchase much-needed new, high-quality medical equipment, including scales, stethoscopes and ophthalmic instruments. “It will finance the purchase of laptops and provide funds for disposable items, such as blood glucose test strips, bandages and over-the-counter medications,” Shafer said.

The CI MED student-led team is expanding its reach to serve people experiencing homelessness. Avicenna recently created a new program called Shelter Medicine, an initiative that brings free medical and case management services directly to homeless shelters.

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Twice a month, the group holds a medical clinic at CU Home, a homeless shelter in Champaign, Illinois. Students and health care providers work together to provide basic primary care services such as physical exams, chronic disease management, laboratory tests, and over-the-counter medications.

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“This initiative is an important step in addressing the individual health care needs of people experiencing homelessness, who may feel neglected by the health care system and have complex financial, social, and environmental factors affecting their health,” said second-year Anisha Mittal. Medical student and co-director of Avicenna’s outreach team that oversees shelter medicine initiatives.

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Avicenna Community Health Center is always open to donations and collaborations with other community organizations as well as seeking physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and social workers to volunteer at their Sunday clinic from 1-4 p.m. Physician volunteers are especially needed on Fridays. From 3-5 p.m., shelter medicine initiative in collaboration with CU at home. If interested, please email [email protected]

For more information or to partner with Avicenna, visit their website here.

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