Marshall Medical Outreach marks fifth year of providing health care to homeless

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016
Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713

Marshall Medical Outreach marks fifth year of providing health care to homeless

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Five years ago, on a cold February morning, a small group of Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine students headed to Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington to provide basic health care to a handful of homeless individuals.

Fast forward to 2016 and Marshall Medical Outreach (MMO) has expanded into a monthly, multidisciplinary outreach that has provided medical care to more than 1,500 patients.

Through the development of several partnerships, MMO now delivers primary care, immunizations, prescription services, eye screenings and even dermatology services at Trinity Episcopal Church in Huntington.  

Additionally, MMO schedules monthly activities that usually include secondary outreach efforts like coat, food and personal hygiene drives.

Charles “Chuck” Clements, M.D., a professor in the school’s department of family and community health and faculty advisor for MMO, said after 60 months of working with medical students on the project, he is still impressed with the dedication and spirit of those who participate in the monthly clinic.

“The MMO students have been there every month, in every type of weather, taking care of the most neglected in our community,” Clements said. “These future doctors, who have so little time to study, come out to support the MMO. And every month we remind them that, ‘You have many other things you could be doing, but you don’t have anything better you could be doing.’ ”

Joining the medical student volunteers are Marshall University School of Pharmacy students who are now part of the care team.

“I am very proud that students from the school of pharmacy have made significant contributions to the success of the MMO,” said Robert Stanton, Pharm.D., MBA, an assistant dean at the school. “They are caring individuals who give up time out of their busy lives to help those who need help. The community is stronger thanks to these individuals.”

Josh C. Ferrell, M.D., a 2012 graduate from the School of Medicine, was one of the inaugural organizers along with fellow medical students Artina J. Lane, M.D., and Jennifer E. Rinehart Kendall, M.D. 

He credits Clements, school of medicine staff member Missy Browning, the school of medicine administration and members of the Christian Motorcyclists of America for their devotion to the project.

“They had faith that if we continued to provide services and invest ourselves into the lives of these people who had been living estranged and crippled by drugs, poverty and homelessness, we would see lives change,” Ferrell said. “It is amazing to witness the growth of the medical outreach and to see how the dream of a handful of dedicated volunteers could inspire students, churches and local citizens to invest in the lives of others to witness change in the health of a community.”

Marshall Medical Outreach has received several community service awards, including recognition by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as part of Governor’s Day to Serve and the 2013 Cabell-Huntington Coalition for the Homeless’ “Heart for the Homeless Award.”  

Monthly health care events generally occur every fourth Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Huntington.


Date Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2016