The National Clinics Collaborative (NCC) is an online platform created in May of 2020 for student-leaders of free clinics from around the United States to easily connect and share resources for the purpose of improving patient care. Student-run free clinics often face similar challenges, regardless of geographic location. Therefore, our vision is to create a long-term, sustainable, and collaborative national network among student leaders in order to improve the quality of care provided within medically marginalized communities. Furthermore, our goal is to give student-leaders the opportunity to gain new, innovative ideas to implement in their own clinics without having to travel to a conference or present a poster.
The founding of NCC was inspired by the success of the Florida Clinics Collaborative (FCC) which sought to unite all student-run free clinics within the state of Florida. The collaboration FCC has fostered has resulted in the sharing of ideas that have changed the faces of many of our clinics for years to come. FCC has also created social change around the state of Florida by emphasizing and sharing the importance of harm reduction through needle exchange programs. When we realized the full impact that FCC had on all local clinics, we wanted to help other states be able to do the same thing, thus leading to the creation of the NCC.
Our primary aim is to create a space where student-leaders can interact instantly and casually with each other. In order to do so, we created a model which will allow student-leaders to interact with others in their states and regions, where they might face similar challenges or work with similar patient populations. These collaborations will feed into the creation of a comprehensive, national forum of resources and techniques that have helped individual free clinics succeed within local communities. We are currently creating a toolkit to share with all the member clinics of the National Clinics Collaborative. In the meantime, the National Clinics Collaborative Facebook group is a reliable forum that temporarily connects student-leaders. Ultimately, our goal is to create a platform that allows for the flow of data and innovative approaches to patient care between all free clinics within the United States to improve health care within underserved areas.