The Heart of Virginia began it's journey towards opening a free medical clinic back in 2009. Our area is one of the poorest and least served in all of Virginia. I found Volunteers in Medicine doing a Google search, how to start a free clinic. I called and the folks at VIM have done a fantastic job helping us accomplish this mission. We were given step by step instruction and all the resources needed at no cost to us. Our clinic never would have been without VIM. We are the only VIM clinic is VA. HOVFC opened and began seeing patients in 2012. It was a long and sometimes not too easy process but with VIM's expertise, it all became possible.
Thank you, Carolyn for posting a comment.
In 1998, I was watching the television show, Hardball with Chris Matthews and saw an interview with John Kasich. Kasich was talking about his book, Courage is Contagious. The book was about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their community. One of these people was Dr. Jack McConnell, who created Volunteers in Medicine and formed a fabulous free clinic in Hilton Head. I was so impressed that I called Dr. McConnell and scheduled a trip to Hilton Head to see firsthand what he was doing.
I fell in love with this program. I saw with my own eyes people helping others who had no health insurance or funding streams to provide for their medical care. I was surprised that all services were free and these friends and neighbors were being treated with dignity and respect. I have subsequently joined the board of Volunteers in Medicine and serve as its Vice Chair. On November 2010, I used the Volunteers in Medicine model to open Clinic by the Bay in San Francisco. I currently serve on the board as Vice President.
I am actively involved in numerous boards and commissions, but there is none I am more proud of than Volunteers in Medicine and Clinic by the Bay. Their credo below says it all.
May we have eyes to see those who are rendered invisible and excluded; Open arms and hearts to reach out and include them; Healing hands to touch their lives with love; And in the process heal ourselves.
Southeast Indiana Health Center recently opend their doors on June 4, 2013 and this would not have been possible without VIM. When we began to investigate offerring medical services to those in need, we found VIM. We wanted a sound model to follow. We wanted our center to be a place where pople were comforatble coming. VIM was just the model we were looking for. We affliated with VIM and they have been a valuable resource. VIM has been onsite and has been avaialble with monthly conference calls. They have provided guidance, support, suggestions and has been able to come to our aid whenever needed. There resources saved us a great deal of time and energy. They also encourage our own individuality and promoted us developing the clinic that met our community needs.
In the decade I have been on the Board of Volunteers In Medicine, I have been witness to dedication to excellence, professional standards and compassion week after week after week. Whether the energy is focused on helping patients, rebuilding a kitchen , or daunting fund raising necessities, the volunteers from all walks of life make the tiny building on Route 9 hum with skill and generosity of spirit.
Judith Coche, PhD, ABPP
Board Member, Volunteers in Medicine
Owner, The Coche Center, LLC, Rittenhouse Square and Stone Harbor, NJ
At our VIM clinic, we regularly hear "without VIM, I don't know what I would do or where I would go". Free clinics such as VIM are so vital to the woprking poor. Health Care and Health Insurance is far out of reach for the good hard working people earning too much for Medicaid but not enough to survive. It is intolerable that families should have to choose between putting food on their table or paying for medications.
I was shown the need and with another physician have founded a VIM (Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic) clinic to serve the working poor on Johns and adjacent islands in SC.With Divine Guidance and the generous support of our professionals and our community ,we have been able to see over 14,000 patient visits and have 2,550 patients who call us their " medical home"(in the first 41/2 years). We have partnered with Roper/St Francis Hospital System of Charleston which benefits all. After 30 years of surgical practice nothing has given me more gratification .
Arthur, thank you for your comment.
BVMI has been up and running for 2 1/2 years, and we are now seeing patients 5 days a week, about 5,000 visits a year. There is no doubt about the "joy" expressed by John McConnel MD that both we and the patients experience. What is remarkable is how attractive the VIM concept is to all who volunteer and by those who are employed. Furthermore, as the original founder, I find I am no longer needed, as all involved have incor-porated the mission within themselves; except for fundraising, BVMI is self sustaining. Our goal should be one VIM in every county in every state.