MEDIC Clinic Volunteers Make a Difference

Joel Thomas Adler, president of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health's MEDIC outreach program, speaks fondly of the time he helped a man with an injured shoulder.


"He understood very little English and couldn't afford time away from his three manual labor jobs," Adler says, "but we taught him some exercises and provided medication."


Adler and dozens of other first- and second-year UW School of Medicine and Public Health students volunteer at six free clinics throughout Madison as part of the MEDIC program. Three are weekly clinics that treat mainly acute health problems, while three others focus more on prevention, education and mental health assistance. Together, they treat approximately 1,200 patients each year, nearly all of whom lack health insurance.


MEDIC clinics are staffed entirely by volunteers, including not only students, but physicians, residents and an array of health professionals.


Not content to simply provide health care, MEDIC also engages the community through literacy activities, participation in health fairs and other community-based activities. The program offers students a unique opportunity to gain valuable clinical experience while serving those who would not otherwise have access to health care.