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Martha's Health Clinic

About Martha's Health Clinic

Mission

  • Provide basic health care to the homeless
  • Establish a setting for medical education
  • Prevent the spread of infectious diseases
  • Provide education and preventative health maintenance
  • Limit the financial burden on area hospitals

Donations

We accept donations of medicine, medical equipment, toys, time and money. Contact a board member or send items to the clinic address.

Our Future At Martha's Health Clinic

Martha's Clinic has an incredible potential for growth and development. An expansion of facilities, hours of operation, and number of patients treated only requires an expansion of student participation. The Texas A&M College of Medicine is one of a few medical schools in the country that can provide this type of opportunity. Students who become involved with Martha's Health Clinic have a level of experience and ability that sets them apart from their peers. Working at Martha's offers students an opportunity to lead, to innovate, and most importantly, to practice medicine.

The student board members at Martha's Health Clinic welcome your questions, comments and ideas about our student-run clinic. You may contact Martha's Clinic via the information listed below.
We welcome your feedback.

Medical School Credit Hours

The College of Medicine approved the Indigent Health Care Elective (MFCM 983I) for students who are interested in working at Martha's Clinic. Students are required to work four hours a week for either 10 or 20 weeks and complete a project dealing with patient education or improving the clinic. In return, students receive credit hours in indigent health care that count toward their degree. Additionally, students receive one or two weeks extra vacation during their fourth year. More importantly, students are exposed to the scope of the health issues concerning the homeless. This type of experience offers unprecedented freedom and autonomy for medical students as they develop their own methods of practicing medicine.

General Operations

Martha's Health Clinic (MHC) is open every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Healthcare at MHC is free and open to anyone. The majority of patients seen are indigent and this remains the focus of the clinic. Each week a total of 25 to 40 patients are seen. Medical students, nurses, or community volunteers triage patients on a first-come, first-served basis. Then they are seen by a medical student who performs the entire examination, completes any necessary minor laboratory work, and formulates a plan of care. This is then presented to the attending physician and appropriate treatment is instituted. Minor procedures such as sebaceous cyst removal and callous removal can be performed.

In addition, the patients of MHC often need social support. Once their needs are identified, they may be referred to community agencies that aid patients in finding clothing, transportation, and help in abuse situations. If necessary, patients may be referred to the local Veterans' Affairs Hospital or Scott & White Memorial Hospital for more specialized care or in an emergency situation. Females in need of OB-GYN care may be referred to Bell County Health Department. Martha's Health Clinic is fortunate to have such support from the local hospitals who aid in referrals and social services, volunteer physicians who serve as attendings, as well as drug companies who donate medications, and many community volunteers who give their time and energy to the clinic. Local hospitals also aid in obtaining lab data and drugs that are unavailable at the clinic so that patients receive the full spectrum of primary care. Other local services include: dental hygiene care, free HIV testing and sign-up for CHIP (free child health care).

History

Martha's Health Clinic was started in 1994 by Texas A&M medical students Eric Wilke and Eric Beshires, who saw a need for better health care for the homeless population in Temple, Texas. They began their outreach by taking blood pressures once a week at Martha's Homeless Shelter. Soon, these students realized the people of Martha's Shelter needed more extensive medical care than they were able to obtain.

Through a joint effort of dedicated medical students and Martha's Kitchen/Shelter, a free student-run clinic for the homeless was established. The success of this project was due in large part to the support of Deacon Fred Banderas, who was serving as chairman of Martha's Kitchen/Shelter at that time. Within a year of opening, Martha's Health Clinic had expanded from one room to an entire wing. Since then, medical students have continued to provide quality healthcare to the homeless of Temple and Bell County.

Leadership

For those who participate, Martha's Health Clinic offers a unique opportunity for leadership. Any health clinic is an enormous operation to manage. Martha's Health Clinic is no exception. Student leadership, creativity and manpower are required to keep the clinic in operation. The members of the governing board of Martha's Clinic oversee the many aspects of the clinic. Volunteers may take special interest in these service activities to develop leadership skills. The current committees at Martha's Health Clinic are:

  • Scheduling
  • Pharmaceuticals and supplies
  • Laboratory
  • Publicity
  • Patient education
  • Social Work
  • Referrals
  • Community outreach
  • Record keeping

Opportunities

If you are a College of Medicine student working at Martha's Health Clinic, you can expect the following:

  • You will begin each visit by triaging paitents and taking vital signs.
  • You are the doctor performing the complete or focused history and physical for the patients at Martha's Health Clinic.
  • You make an assessment and formulate a plan for each patient you see.
  • You present your plan to one of the Scott and White physicians who is volunteering that night.
  • Treat your patients with the most appropriate medication from Martha's Clinic.

Structure

Martha's Health Clinic is governed by a board of directors consisting of seven third-year, and seven fourth-year medical students as well as two non-voting advisers. The two non-voting seats on the board are held by the director of Martha's Kitchen/Shelter and the physician adviser to Martha's Health Clinic. Two of the fourth-year board members are co-chairs. Two third-year and two fourth-year board members are in charge of the laboratory and pharmacy. Other clinic responsibilities are divided among the board members and senior students doing projects. Board meetings are held monthly to coordinate the various committee activities and projects of the clinic.

Resources

  • Texas Department of Health (Includes links for birth/death records, career opportunities, disease reporting, health data, kid's corner, and other programs and services)
  • MHMR (Includes information such as behavioral health, developmental disorders, child and family services, consumer benefits/eligibility, housing, supported employment, and EMerge program)
  • Texas Children's Health Insurance Program (Medical programs for families and children who meet certain criteria under Title XIX of the Social Security Act)
  • WIC (Special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children; serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets; information on healthy eating and referrals to healthcare)
  • AA ( Alcoholics Anonymous ® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.)
  • 2-1-1 Texas (State's central point for information and communication for people needing or wanting to give help)