Student-Run Clinic Serving Aurora Opens

(May 2015) The DAWN (Dedicated to Aurora’s Wellness and Needs) Clinic, a student-run free clinic that serves uninsured adults from the Aurora community every Tuesday evening, opened this spring. The clinic is offering free medical, physical therapy, and dental services. Every week, Anschutz students from the School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Colorado School of Public Health, College of Nursing, and School of Dental Medicine band together to serve their Aurora neighbors.

The clinic is housed in the Dayton Street Opportunity Center, a community resource providing education, job training, counseling, and health care resources. Both the Opportunity Center and the clinic have been a collaborative effort, created by the Fields Foundation and Primary Care Progress with partners like the Mosaic Church of Aurora.

Joseph Johnson, MD, a chief resident in internal medicine with the School of Medicine and medical director for the DAWN Clinic, says this community needs more than medication and a quick office visit.

“We’re trying to create as much opportunity in as confined an area as possible,” Johnson says. “We’re trying to give patients the skills to navigate the system and be successful in the future. We won’t just say, ‘Sorry you’re homeless, here’s some insulin that will spoil since you can’t refrigerate it.’ We can do more. In addition to addressing their immediate medical needs, we can provide housing navigation, provide healthy eating education, and establish lasting relationships that will change lives.”

Just as the clinic is run on volunteer’s time, all of the clinic’s equipment was donated by the community. Everything, from the wheelchairs and exam tables to the plastic gloves and thermometers, was donated by other primary care clinics, local physicians, and organizations like Advocates for World Health. The various schools on the Anschutz Medical Campus collectively contributed $20,000 to enable the clinic to acquire the Advocates for World Health shipment, valued at $147,000, and one local physician donated approximately $15,000 worth of equipment that could have been sold elsewhere.

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