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Community-based Free Clinics

Community-based Free Clinics: Opportunities for Interprofessional Collaboration, Health Promotion, and Complex Care Management

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   J Chiropractic Education 2016 (Mar); 30 (1): 25-29

Martha A. Kaeser , MEd, DC, Cheryl Hawk , DC, PhD,
Michelle L. Anderson , Richard Reinhardt DC

Logan University
1851 Schoettler Rd,
Chesterfield, MO, 63017


Objective:   Free or outreach clinics offer students the opportunity to work with diverse patient populations. The objective of this study was to describe the demographics and clinical characteristics of a sample of chiropractic patients at a free community-based clinic to assess clinical and educational opportunities for students to work with diverse populations, collaborate with other professions and practice health promotion through patient education.

Methods:   This was a prospective, descriptive cross-sectional study conducted over 2 months. Data on demographics, health status, and health risks were collected from patients and their interns.

Results:   Of the 158 patients, 50.6% were women and 50.6% African-American, while only 20.9% were employed full-time. Of the 24.7% tobacco users, 48.7% expressed interest in cessation. Of 80.0% overweight or obese patients, 48.8% expressed interest in weight loss. By self-report, 16.5% were diabetic, 10.1% took hypertension medication, 36.7% used prescription pain medication (9.4% opiate use), 33.5% used nonprescription pain medication, and 9.4% were under the care of a mental health professional.

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Conclusion:   This patient population is demographically diverse. A high proportion of patients who used tobacco, or were overweight or obese expressed interest in information on those topics. A substantial proportion reported being under care with a mental health professional. This clinic provides opportunities for students to work with diverse populations, collaborate with other professions, and practice health promotion.

Keywords:   Community Health Centers, Health Promotion, Interprofessional Relations, Cultural Diversity


From the FULL TEXT Article

INTRODUCTION

Many chiropractic institutions operate free or outreach clinics. [1-3] Health care services are offered for no cost to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured individuals with the overarching goal of decreasing health disparities. [4] The Council on Chiropractic Education requires that an institution “conducts and supports service activities congruent with its mission, goals, and objectives.” [5] This can be achieved through “low cost or free health care to underserved populations in either Doctor of Chiropractic Program managed clinics or in clinical settings controlled by external agencies.” [5] These clinics typically are located in economically disadvantaged locations and offer students the opportunity to work with diverse patient populations. They also provide students the educational experience of managing patients who may not traditionally enter a chiropractic clinic. [2]


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