Saint Louis University's Health Resource Center, a free clinic operated by medical school students under the guidance of SLU doctors, celebrates its 20th anniversary of caring for the underserved and underinsured with a move to a newer, larger facility in north St. Louis.
|Video by Riya V. Anandwala|
The facility moved about a mile and a half to the Victor Roberts Building, 1408 N. Kingshighway, between Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and Page Boulevard. To reflect the service mission that is an integral part of SLU's Jesuit identity, the new site also is known as the Jesuit Health Resource Center.
The modern, well equipped new clinic space is twice the size of its previous location, offering students the potential to care for more patients and expand the services they offer. There are more and bigger exam rooms, and private interview rooms. Lighting is bright throughout the clinic, providing a better experience for patients and health care providers. And the clinic has year-round heating and air conditioning, amenities that were not available in its previous location.
Matthew DeCuffa, a second-year medical school student who is on the clinic's leadership team, said the new facility offers patients more privacy and gives students and faculty a dedicated space to confer about diagnoses and treatments.
"Going to the doctor can be an intimidating and vulnerable experience, and the new clinic will help us better serve patients," DeCuffa said. "Our new location will improve our ability to forge stronger relationships between patients and health care professionals, which are vital to the success of health care today."
|Sarah Smith is a third-year SLU medical school student who volunteers at the free clinic.|
Committed to Serving the Community
While the HRC last year served patients who came from 60 different zip codes -- some more than 30 miles away, the new facility is located in the hub where more than half of its patients live.
"We were absolutely committed to staying in north city," said Lauren Page Pommert, M.D., who graduated from SLU School of Medicine in 2013 and was one of the medical students who chose the new location.
"We had opportunities to consider other properties, but we made a commitment to north city 20 years ago and we had no intention of abandoning that commitment.
"We knew as soon as we walked into the Victor Roberts building that this was the place. It was in a high-traffic commercial area, a well-known building. It's even on the same bus route, and we could build out the clinic like we wanted it."
The clinic has six exam rooms, a social work room, large conference room, large multipurpose rooms, expanded lab space, a large waiting room and a classroom. The facility offers patients, students and physicians more privacy to address delicate health matters. With the additional space, SLU is exploring the possibility of adding other services.
Eva Frazer, M.D., a former member of SLU's Board of Trustees, and her husband Steven Roberts donated clinic space on the second floor of what had been the Sears building.
"I support the clinic's mission, especially in taking care of medical problems before they become catastrophic, and I wanted to do anything I could to help," Frazer said.
Student Initiative Helps Community for Two Decades
Under the mentorship of John Morley, M.D., director of the divisions of geriatrics and endocrinology at Saint Louis University, the HRC opened in 1994, the brainchild of medical students who wanted to provide health care to members of the community who lack access.
The model of care has worked for nearly 20 years, as students interact with patients for the very first time and patients receive much needed care. First- and second-year students take patient histories. Third- and fourth-year students conduct physicals, and a volunteer faculty member reviews all cases, answers questions and prescribes medication.
In 2012 the HRC served more than 1,000 patients -- some having multiple visits -- at primary care, well women and pediatrics clinics. About 75 percent had no primary care provider, and 73 percent lack insurance.
Students began seeing patients in their new space during their regular 9 a.m. to noon Saturday morning session late this summer. The dedication of the facility and celebration of the move was held Oct. 14.
Visiting the Clinic
The Jesuit Health Resource Center does not take appointments for its primary care Saturday morning session; patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Children who need school physicals and immunizations are seen during a special summer pediatric clinics held 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays from July through September, and are seen first-come, first-served, with signups starting at 10 a.m.
Advanced appointments are accepted for the facility's well woman clinic, held the first Saturday of the month from 1 to 4 p.m. October through June. Appointments also will be taken for cardiology clinics for patients who have high blood pressure, which will be scheduled at a future date.
While the clinic currently is open only on Saturdays, patients with questions or who want to schedule an appointment for one of the specialty clinics may call 314-389-0008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org throughout the week.
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: infectious disease, liver disease, cancer, heart/lung disease, and aging and brain disorders.
Visit the HRC's web page.
Watch a video about the HRC.
Read about a grant to expand services at the HRC.