Access to affordable health care continues to be an issue throughout the United States, and no other group is more widely affected by this topic than the homeless and unemployed population. Despite programs set forth to disperse care and resources, many still live day-to-day with chronic and untreated illnesses without the means to care for themselves. In an effort to extend a collaborative connection with an often-neglected community and address the needs of these people, students at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (JCESOM) formed the Marshall Medical Outreach (MMO).
Founded in February 2011, MMO was devised as service to offer on-site healthcare to those in need while providing medical students an opportunity to practice and perfect the skills necessary to become a proficient physician. Today, MMO exists as a mainly student-run organization under the guidance of JCESOM faculty physicians and extremely dedicated community members. With the help of donations and continuing interest, MMO has grown from 3 to an average of 30 medical student volunteers and physicians. Our group works with a long-standing and extensive assembly of community groups who provide social care and donations to the homeless in Huntington, West Virginia.
One Saturday each month, our volunteers set up a mobile clinic at a designated spot in Huntington to provide free medical care. A mobile clinic van, provided by the Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health, and a series of organized tents allow us provide immunizations, screenings, physical exams, and ophthalmology services. After being seen by a physician, patients can collect doctor-recommended medications at the MMO pharmacy. Physician referrals and follow up care with the Marshall Family Practice are also frequently recommended. With these services, our goal is to provide a continuity of care and extend valuable medical and social resources to those most in need.