Research Mentor Name
Dr. Robert Sherwin MD
Research Mentor Email Address
Institution / Department
Level of Research
Introduction: Cass Clinic, a student-run free clinic (SRFC) affiliated with Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, provides free healthcare to predominantly underprivileged populations. Cass Clinic remained open during Governor Whitmer’s shelter-in-place order from March 24, 2020 through June 12, 2020 and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to assess SRFC’s utility in meeting patient needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: A mixed, open and closed-ended quality improvement survey was administered to patients who utilized Cass Clinic between the dates of May 2, 2020 and June 6, 2020. Qualitative analysis included descriptive statistics, while open-ended questions were assessed for common themes by three independent researchers.
Results: The sample consisted of N=17 patients with a mean age of 60 years. Patient’s past medical histories included hypertension (88%), diabetes mellitus (29%), and hyperlipidemia (47%). A majority of patients had comorbidities (71%) and about half (53%) were uninsured. Reasons for utilizing Cass Clinic were convenience, lack of healthcare access elsewhere, and resources availability. Patient concerns included contracting COVID-19 and managing their health conditions. All participants reported receiving medication refills from Cass Clinic for chronic conditions.
Discussion/Conclusion: Results demonstrated Cass Clinic provides vital care to underserved individuals in Detroit who are vulnerable to the negative health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This disparity is further compounded by social factors, which can impede effectively managing health conditions. SRFCs, like Cass Clinic, are uniquely positioned to bridge health disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing essential services to vulnerable populations.
Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Services Research | Medicine and Health Sciences | Quality Improvement
Saymuah, Sara; Heil, Hailey; Vaghasia, Janki; Rojas Thaureaux, Marla; Badia, Victoria; and Baal, Paige, "Utility of Student-Run Free Clinics for Underserved Individuals During COVID-19 Michigan Shelter-in-Place Order" (2021). Medical Student Research Symposium. 96.