"Be worthy to Serve the Suffering" Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Key Background

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12635 E. Montview Blvd., Suite 270
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National and Chapter News

Medical Volunteers at the University of Cincinnati (MEDVOUC)—Bridging the Gap


Since Dr. Aletha Tippett founded Medical Volunteers of the University of Cincinnati (MEDVOUC) in 1992, its goals have been to serve the basic needs of the homeless population in Cincinnati through a clinic at the Drop-Inn Homeless Shelter, while allowing medical students to practice clinical skills, grow compassion, and gain awareness of the issues facing underserved population as well as the challenges of providing high quality healthcare to such populations. MEDVOUC does this through its services provided to the Drop-Inn shelter as well as through community education programs.

MEDVOUC students help run the free clinic every Thursday evening from October to March. Six to eight first and second year medical students team up with a precepting physician and 2-3 pharmacy students to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with complaints such as musculoskeletal pain, upper respiratory infections, and wounds. AΩA funding was used during the past year to provide supplies that the organization�s operating budget would not have otherwise covered, such as glucose monitors and strips. Recently, TB surveillance was added to the services at the Drop-Inn, and a program for healthcare education established at the YWCA Battered Women's Shelter. AΩA funds helped maximize the impact of both of these programs as well. When MEDVOUC began to use bus tokens and taxi vouchers to facilitate travel, the number of patients testing positive after the tuberculosis skin test who were able to access treatment at the Hamilton County TB Control Center rose dramatically. This year we hope to continue these programs while expanding our educational program to include additional health education at the Drop-Inn Shelter as well as expand awareness in the community.


Currently, the effectiveness and quality of the care at the clinic is limited by the space available to us at the Drop-Inn Shelter. Nearly every week there are new volunteers, and the large storage cabinets can make it difficult to find supplies. Much of the space is taken up by bulky desks and few (but large) chairs. Since seating is limited students often must stand over the patient while taking a history. Students also have to walk through patient interviews to reach supplies and drugs.

To address this need, MEDVOUC has established relationship with the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) in order to develop a new layout within the current space and purchase new furniture and organizational supplies to better utilize the space. The new layout will streamline our patient care setting and reorganize our supplies, eliminating wasted time searching for supplies and allowing more time for patient care. In addition, the new furniture will allow designated patient care stations and seating for both the patients and students.

This project will be headed by the new officers of MEDVOUC, including Director Laura Jones, Development Chair Courtney Kroeger, and Clinic Coordinators Erin Becka and David Dow. Additional officers of MEDVOUC that will be coordinating the TB surveillance are Rechel Robitz and Monika Jindal and coordinating the education within both the community and within the homeless population are Will DeWitt and Laura Pareso. These officers hope to see MEDVOUC continue to grow as a bridge between medical students and the community. We hope that MEDVOUC will continue to serve as an outlet for students to not only be able to practice clinical skills and patient care, but to teach them compassion and understanding, which will ultimately lead to better physicians in the future.

—Laura Jones (current Director of MEDVOUC) and Janice Thoerner (former Director)

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Last Updated: 8/27/09

Updated on October 25, 2013.