Einstein Hosts Regional Conference for Student-Run Free Clinics

Medical students who volunteer at student-run free clinics in the Northeast converged on Einstein's Jack and Pearl Resnick campus on Sunday, December 8, to take part in the Society of Student-Run Free Clinics (SSFC) New England Regional Conference. Co-hosted by the Einstein Community Health Outreach (ECHO) Free Clinic – along with six other New York area student-run free clinics – the event drew nearly 150 attendees representing 11 clinics in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It was the first time that the event has been held at Einstein.  

Keynote speaker Dr. Daniel Ehlke, assistant professor at SUNY-Downstate School of Public Health and an expert on the politics of healthcare reform, opened the conference with an address on a topic that has been looming since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law in 2010: the potential impact of the ACA on student-run free clinics, which serve the uninsured. 

Students from Columbia, Mount Sinai, NYU, Stony Brook, SUNY-Downstate and Weill Cornell medical schools worked with Einstein's ECHO volunteers to develop the conference program and joined them in serving as workshop leaders. 

A workshop on the Affordable Care Act attracted the biggest crowd.  Workshop participants discussed anticipated changes, such as the role that student-run free clinics will play in helping patients make the transition to the ACA, or "Obamacare."

Other workshops and panels focused on topics including emergency response and preparedness, women's health free clinics, engaging community partners, targeted patient education and fundraising.

"The conference was a rare opportunity for us to meet our peers from other clinics, to share ideas and insights, and learn from each other," said Kimberly Ashayeri, a second-year Einstein student who serves as ECHO project director, and one of the conference coordinators.

She added, "It was exciting and inspiring to share in each other's successes and to work together to brainstorm new solutions for how to provide better care to patients."  

A joint project of Einstein and the Institute for Family Health, the ECHO clinic is based at the Walton Family Health Centerin the South Bronx. Clinic staff members, who all are volunteers, provide free, high-quality, comprehensive care to uninsured community residents. Working alongside licensed physicians, each year more than 200 Einstein students serve approximately 1,000 patients. Einstein faculty members Dr. Amarilys Cortijo and Dr. Sarah Nosal serve as ECHO medical director and assistant medical director respectively, while second-year students Jordan Elman and Lauren Tannenbaum are the clinic's weekly coordinators.

The ECHO Clinic will mark its 15th anniversary with a special celebration on Thursday evening, February 13, 2014, at the Salon de Lafayette in Manhattan.  Proceeds from the event will help pay for patient referrals for specialty appointments and screenings. All Einstein students, faculty, alumni and friends are invited to attend.

For more information on the ECHO Clinic or its 15th anniversary celebration, please visit the ECHO Clinic website or contact Kim Ashayeri at echoprojectdirector@gmail.com. You also may register for the event at the website.

Student organizers from Einstein (from left): Sophia Ryan, executive clinic chair; Jordan Elman, weekly coordinator; Kimberly Ashayeri, project director; and Lauren Tannenbaum, weekly coordinator
Student organizers from Einstein (from left): Sophia Ryan, executive clinic chair; Jordan Elman, weekly coordinator; Kimberly Ashayeri, project director; and Lauren Tannenbaum, weekly coordinator
The conference in action
The conference in action
One of several workshops held during the conference
One of several workshops held during the conference
 

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