Looking for an opportunity to serve the Colorado Springs community and gain clinical experience? The non-profit Mission Medical Center is seeking interested UCCS students to volunteer and provide free healthcare to those in need.
For over a decade, Mission Medical Center has provided free medical care to Colorado’s uninsured, underinsured and low-income individuals.
Senior and biology major Trenton Reinicke, who is a volunteer EMT at the clinic, said, “As a volunteer, you get a lot of clinical hours working with patients, triaging them, doing all the vitals, filling out their patient charts and relaying that information to physicians. It’s a pretty amazing experience for a pre-med student.”
Reinicke has been volunteering at the clinic for about two years, working eight hours a week while being a full-time student and conducting research. “You can work around your schedule, do what works best for you and your classes.”
“I believe healthcare is a fundamental human right that everyone is entitled to. It is unfortunate that many individuals cannot afford it. That’s why I believe that this medical center provides a unique, amazing opportunity not only for students and clinicians, but the patients they get to see,” Reinicke said.
Reinicke said another benefit to volunteering is that students get to make connections with physicians and patients. “If you volunteer there for a significant amount of time, [patients] get to know you and you become a part of their life. You get to make a difference.”
Mission Medical Clinic has collaborated with the Anschutz School of Medicine for four years to do a student-run interface using their space. One Saturday per month, students from the School of Medicine come down, see patients with supervision of faculty members and act as the primary care team for these patients.
Heather Cassidy is the advisor of the School of Medicine students, and her role within the organization is to recruit students and faculty who want to volunteer. She explained the importance of the clinic in the community: “[The Mission Medical Clinic’s] mission is to essentially fill the gap for people who do not have insurance in our community. We estimate that there are about 80,000 people in El Paso County who don’t have insurance.”
“Mission Medical Clinic provides primary care, some urgent care, eye and dental care, they even have a small food pantry there, and they provide spiritual care, as well,” Cassidy continued. “There’s a small pharmacy on site that dispenses medication cost-free.”
“The roles for UCCS students and pre-health students would be in a potential care navigation, or, for students who have a little bit of experience taking blood pressure or vital signs, they can train there to be essentially doing the role a medical assistant would do, so helping check in patients, helping get medical histories, helping room the patients and then potentially helping with the health education or care on the backside,” Cassidy said.
There are a range of positions available for students with or without medical certificates. “The more volunteers they have, the more services they can offer and the more patients they can see,” Cassidy said.
There are two different volunteer opportunities: UCCS students can volunteer Monday through Friday with the Mission Medical Center or once a month at the Saturday clinic with the School of Medicine students, or both.
The Mission Medical Center has a New Volunteer Orientation on the third Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
If you are interested in volunteering, download the Mission Medical volunteer application and either bring it to the orientation, or email it to Mission Medical Clinic CEO Barb Cronin, [email protected],
For students specifically interested in volunteering alongside the School of Medicine students one Saturday a month, reach out to Heather Cassidy (heat[email protected]).
Trenton Reinicke is the student point of contact, and he can be contacted at [email protected].