SHARING Clinics celebrate 16 years of volunteer medical service to OmahaStudent-run clinics provide vital care to underserved population
The student-run SHARING Clinics of the University of Nebraska Medical Center celebrated their 16th anniversary today with a birthday party at UNMC’s Durham Outpatient Center. The celebration was held to honor longtime supporters like Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., as well as student and faculty volunteers.
The SHARING Clinics allow students to provide low cost, high quality health care to the underserved patient population in Omaha. SHARING’s interdisciplinary approach to care is unique, making the program a national leader among student-run clinics.
SHARING’s four Omaha-based clinics each provide a different type of service:
- GOODLIFE serves those living with type II diabetes;
- RESPECT provides treatment and testing for sexually transmitted infections;
- VISION provides ophthalmological services; and
- SHARING is a general family practice clinic.
In addition, SHARING is partnered with the Dental SHARING Clinic at the UNMC College of Dentistry in Lincoln.
Chancellor Maurer was instrumental in creating the clinics 16 years ago as dean of the College of Medicine. He spoke briefly at the event, and he and his wife Beverly were thanked by students for their continued support with a commemorative jersey.
Jim Medder, M.D., a member of the SHARING Faculty Advisory Committee, was recognized at the event for his invaluable guidance and dedication in staffing clinics on nearly 1,000 occasions.
Josh Gruhl, a first-year medical student and newly elected co-president of the SHARING Student Steering Committee, outlined the future of SHARING for its biggest supporters.
The organization will further its role as a national model for student-run clinics by hosting the SHARING the Vision Conference at UNMC on Friday and Saturday. The clinic is continuing to expand its inter-professional nature by incorporating student providers for psychiatric and social work services.
Here is some additional background information on the SHARING Clinics.
To learn more about SHARING, please contact:
Elizabeth Pflug, first-year medical student
SHARING student public relations director
One student’s experience with SHARING Clinics
For Julie Nieveen, sharing her expertise is more than a goal. It’s a commitment.
A nurse practitioner at UNMC Physicians’ Eagle Run Clinic, Nieveen is a professional volunteer for UNMC's SHARING Clinics. She helps up-and-coming medical, nursing and allied health students provide care in the same clinics where she once volunteered as a nurse practitioner student.
“As a student, I also worked as a registered nurse at the UNMC Community Health Center, so I was exposed to the uninsured and underinsured, and I saw that there was a huge need for volunteers to help these patients," she said. “I had a great experience as a student working with the SHARING Clinics.”
Nieveen was on the SHARING board from 2008 to 2009, serving as the clinic logistics person while also volunteering at the RESPECT and SHARING clinics.
“When you work with the uninsured, it can remind you why you went into health care in the first place,” she said. “You help patients who don't have anywhere else to go for help. And for a lot of students, this is their first experience talking to a patient.
“What I learned in SHARING and RESPECT is that every patient deserves respect, no matter what walk of life they come from. The quality of care should not be affected by income or insurance."
Today, Nieveen continues to volunteer at the RESPECT clinic once each month, serving as a faculty provider for the medical, physician assistant and nurse practitioner students.
“Obviously, students need a mentor when they’re taking care of patients,” she said, “but I also help students get to know about how to communicate with their patients.”
Mentorship gives the volunteer work an added appeal, Nieveen said.
“Seeing the students’ progress as they go through school and work with the underserved population is really fulfilling,” she said. “It’s fantastic that UNMC has such a great population of volunteers.”
Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.