In addition to the core curriculum, residents have opportunities for involvement in several unique community service activities.
Charlottesville Free Clinic
The Charlottesville Free Clinic was founded in 1992 by two University of Virginia Internal Medicine residents. Many residents volunteer at this non-profit clinic that services Charlottesville and surrounding counties. It provides free care and medications to working, resource-limited patients and others who “fall through the cracks” of the health care system. Since the clinic’s inception, many Internal Medicine Residents have taken major roles in both provision of medical care and administrative functions such as medical directorship.
The patients are exceedingly grateful. Working at the Free Clinic was a reminder to me that being a doctor is ultimately about choosing a life of service to others.
I really enjoyed volunteering at the free clinic. I committed to doing it one evening per month, and while I’ll admit that I was often tired from my day when I showed up, I always left energized. The free clinic fills a unique niche in the community for patients who are under-resourced but still make too much money or have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid or free/reduced cost care at UVA. I was amazed by the diversity of backgrounds and stories that I saw and heard at the free clinic. The clinic itself is quite robust, offering subspecialty services, mental health care, and dental care. Once I became a PGY-2, I was able to work there independently, seeing patients and diagnosing and treating them on my own, without the oversight or influence of an attending. This was kind of an intellectual challenge and thrill and gave a taste of what life might be like in my future practice. There are many other UVA physicians who volunteer at the clinic as well as others from the community. I frequently ran into Dr. Nadkarni, now Chief of General Medicine at UVA and a preceptor at our resident continuity clinic, who co-founded this clinic when he was a UVA resident in 1992.
Kasey Little, recently graduated resident who was very involved in our Free Clinic