PCOM Hearts Spreads Love To The Homeless
Located in Suwanee, Georgia, this Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) GA HEARTS clinic attempts to mitigate the challenges in identifying the homeless population within suburban areas.
Apoorva Sudini - Newsletter Director
Tucked away into the suburbs of Atlanta rests an unsung hero working relentlessly to give a voice to the unheard. This student run free clinic has only been around for a little less than a year, but the dreams that it holds come from a place of unmatched wisdom and profound authenticity to give back to the underprivileged community. Located in Suwanee, Georgia, this Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) GA HEARTS clinic attempts to mitigate the challenges in identifying the homeless population within suburban areas. “There are a lot of services within Atlanta for the [underserved], but there is just as much need for [this help] residents within the suburbs of Atlanta” said Andrew Morrissey, the clinic’s co-director.
With the advent of the pandemic came a certain worry centered around the concomitant influence of the seasonal flu and COVID-19. In dealing with this uninsured and unprotected population, this concern becomes a priority to be addressed. A swell in affected patients would overwhelm the ICU beds and the Emergency Departments within the area, leading to a whole new host of issues. To prevent this eventual burden, the clinic decided to take a proactive stance to see how it could uphold its mission. This came to the forefront in the form of a drive-up flu initiative. Patients would park their car in a designated cue and volunteers would lead them to flu immunization tents. The entire process would only take twenty minutes—a small sacrifice to pay for the thousands of dollars saved for future treatments.
The past three months included a lot of planning and coordination. Morrissey sat in on meetings with administrative personnel, healthcare professionals and logisticians from the Center for Disease & Control to the Georgia Department of Health to the county health department. In reaching out to the School of Pharmacy, he found great success through its connections with retail pharmacies. Walgreens, in particular, agreed to form a partnership with the clinic and donate its efforts to making a difference within the community. But, the hallmark of this operation came through Morrissey seeking to establish partnerships with community nonprofits. Such a simple link would improve relations between the community and corporations, as Walgreens would work in tandem with nonprofits that have experience with the landscape of these neighborhoods. Therefore, nothing would be forced upon the people, but rather worked with the people. Specifically, the Lawrenceville Co-Op and the Neighborhood Co-Op were the leading voices for these underserved populations.
Nothing would be forced upon the people, but rather worked with the people.
This initiative is set to launch for a total of three different days in the span of the next two months. Through the conducted client interest surveys, it was found that this was a need for many residents within this area. However, through quantitative analysis of the drive-up clinic days, the clinic will assess whether customer attendance meets the need and continue to evaluate ways to improve awareness and access to this service. As of now, the projected goal is to have a minimum turnout of 50 patients each day and the clinic would like to have administered 300 no cost vaccines.
The clinic will assess whether customer attendance meets the need and continue to evaluate ways to improve awareness and access to this service.
If all goes well, this partnership between the clinic, the co-ops and the corporations could mean something greater for the community. It would mean more than just hearing out their pain during this difficult time, but providing a voice to a community that has long been silenced.
Image Credits: Media from Wix