MedZou: Health Care for the Poor
On a Thursday evening in December 2010, two dozen medicine, nursing and pharmacy students decide to meet up. Their destination is less than obvious, though. They aren’t hunkering down behind library stacks or studying in a coffee shop nook or celebrating another semester closer to graduation. Rather, they’re staffing MedZou, a student-run clinic that provides free care for uninsured Boone County residents.
Since opening in October 2008, MedZou volunteers have served more than 400 patients. David Atashroo, BS ’06, MD ’10, of Lexington, Ky., pushed for a student clinic after he and his classmates found that 53 percent of Columbia’s emergency room patients had difficulties obtaining medical care, largely because of costs. Also, the city’s Family Health Center, which serves low-income families, had a four-month waiting list.
MedZou helps bridge that gap by providing primary care to about 10 to 15 patients each Thursday. Although licensed physicians advise volunteers and provide final diagnoses, students take care of everything else. Each year, four first-year medical students take the lead as clinic directors. They handle the scheduling, finances, volunteers, fundraising and community partnerships.