History of the SHARING Clinics
As the only clinic in the nation run and staffed by students from every health-professional college, the SHARING Clinics incorporate a distinct educational dimension in addition to providing health care. This unparalleled degree of cooperation between medical disciplines fosters collegiality and unique learning opportunities afforded by the collaborative approach seen in the SHARING Clinics.
The SHARING Clinic opened on September 9, 1997, in order to provide primary health care to underprivileged populations in South Omaha. It began as a medical student's vision of the need for quality care among Omaha's underserved. With the help of a small group of medical and nursing students under the guidance of Jim Medder, a family physician, and Kathryn Fiandt, a nurse practitioner, the clinic was born. Some of the initial barriers included finding a location, raising money to pay a social worker, collecting pharmaceuticals, finding volunteer physicians, lab techs, and nurses, and recruiting and educating students to run the clinic. The SHARING Clinic operated out of the South Omaha Neighborhood Association (SONA) clinic until February of 2006 when the clinic moved to UNMC Community Health Center at 36th and 'Q' Streets in South Omaha. The tenure at the Community Health Center ended in December 2010, and the SHARING Clinic re-opened at the UNMC Specialty Care Center at 52nd & Leavenworth in Omaha.
Since its creation, the SHARING clinic has utilized the services of over 500 volunteers to provide medical care to over 1400 patients per year. The clinics also have more than 30 faculty members who regularly volunteer their time to preceptor, and have 150 volunteer translator shifts per year filled.
Patients who wish to be seen must demonstrate financial need meeting 100% of the Federal Poverty Line. The SHARING Clinic is opened every Tuesday evening from 5:30-9:00 pm. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are accepted and every patient is seen whether-or-not they are able to pay the requested co-pay of $10 per visit.
The clinic is continually evolving to improve its services. In 1998 the School of Allied Health Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program was incorporated. During the course of 1999 there was the addition of the college of Pharmacy and UNO Department of Social Work as well. Physician assistant students joined in 2002. The board of student administrators is composed of approximately 20 medical, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, medical family therapy, dietetic, physical therapy, and clinical laboratory science students who work together to run the clinic along with a group of advisors, including family physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, family therapy, clinical laboratory science, physical therapy, medical nutrition, and pharmacy faculty.
The RESPECT clinic opened on October 3, 2001 in response to growing concerns over the spread of sexuality transmitted diseases (STDs). The clinic also meets on Monday evenings from 5:30 - 7 p.m. at the UNMC Baker Place Clinic in North Omaha to provide HIV and STD testing, counseling, and preventative education. Due to the nature of the health issues seen at the RESPECT clinic, patients do not need to demonstrate financial need in order to be seen. A $15.00 co-pay is requested at each visit.
The GOODLIFE clinic opened in 2002 to address the primary care needs of those living with type II diabetes, particularly in North Omaha. Patients must demonstrate financial need in order to be seen at the GOODLIFE clinic. Patients are asked for a $10.00 co-pay. The GOODLIFE clinic operates on the second Wednesday of each month at the UNMC Baker Place Clinic in North Omaha.
The SHARING clinics pride itself with its strong tradition of interdisciplinary care. In the Fall of 2005 the clinics added Respiratory Therapy and Physical Therapy to our host of services provided to our patients. RT and PT provide much needed services to our patients, successfully rounding out our complete representation of all graduate health-care students at UNMC.
The work accomplished by the SHARING clinic has not gone without notice. The Department of Health and Human Services awarded the clinic a Secretary's Award for Innovations in Health in its interdisciplinary category. Also, the AAMC, in collaboration with Pfizer Inc., and its Medical Humanities Initiative, presented the SHARING clinic with a grant to expand its services to treat sexually transmitted diseases and infections among Omaha's uninsured and medically underserved. In addition, SHARING has been instrumental in other awards received by UNMC for care of those in need.
In March 2011, the SHARING Clinic launched its fourth clinic - VISION, which is now held at the UNMC Truhlsen Eye Institute on the first Wednesday of every month. This clinic accepts referrals from the SHARING medical clinic. The clinic provides ophthalmology services and diabetic eye screenings. SHARING also enjoys a partnership with the College of Dentistry SHARING Clinic, which provides dental services at the College of Dentistry in Lincoln, NE.
In April of 2013, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman proclaimed April 15-21 as UNMC SHARING Clinic Week in Nebraska. Later that same week, the UNMC SHARING faculty board hosted the SHARING the Vision Conference for faculty members around the country who are involved in student-run clinics. The conference was attended by over 60 faculty and students and was hosted at UNMC's College of Public Health. Conference co-chairs were Audrey Paulman, MD and Ricki Otten, MT. Both are SHARING faculty board members.
Currently, the SHARING Clinics are exploring how their services can continue to improve to benefit the Omaha community.