Students open free health clinic

08:30, January 12, 2011      

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Sunshine and Love Clinic students Qu Hui (far left) and Weng Jian (second from left) accompany a patient seeing a doctor in the campus hospital at Peking University Health Science Center. Photo: Courtesy of Jiang Xiaoxiao
Six medical students at Peking University Health Science Center have established a campus clinic to provide free medical service, including pre-diagnostic aid and some medicines for migrant workers without medical insurance.

Xue Kan, 24, one of the six and a fifth-year medical student, told the Global Times that migrant workers usually don't go to hospitals when suffering minor illnesses because they lack medical insurance.

"The still uneasy relationship between doctors and patients world-wide also pushed us as future doctors to do something to improve the situation," he told the Global Times.

Sunshine and Love

The clinic, named Sunshine and Love Clinic, follows the US "student-run free clinic" (SRFC) model, according to Jiang Xiaoxiao, 22, also a fifth-year medical student and co-founder.

Jiang said that it was one of their classmates' experiences as a volunteer at a SRFC in the US that inspired them to start a similar one in China.

Last year, six medical students including Jiang and Xue, both then clinical medical science seniors, made a trip to Jacksonville, Florida and stayed there for two weeks to learn about operating a SRFC.

They also found that hospitals with a SRFC have a good reputation for better communication between patients and the medical staff.

Not just cures

Xue told the Global Times that modern biomedical care is developing into a three-part mode as "biology, psychology and society." Therefore, doctors need to concentrate on not only physical disease but also communicating well with their patents.

"It reminds us of the importance of communicating with patients to make them feel comfortable," he said. "Though the clinic is not big, it can work as an example to promote a concept - let medical students get involved in a noncommercial effort to help patients."

The clinic staff has grown from six to 40 students, including those studying clinical medical science, basic medicine and public health.

Xue said the clinic is exclusively organized and managed by students, with no teacher or doctor involvement.


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