September 22, 2020
The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC) is a student-run free clinic aimed at addressing the healthcare challenges faced by uninsured New Yorkers by offering free, comprehensive, longitudinal primary care. We have grown incredibly since our inception 15 years ago and now run three full clinics (Medicine, Women’s Health, and Mental Health), with numerous physician volunteers over a wide variety of specialties. We have also expanded our interdisciplinary services to include pharmacy, social work, and nutrition.
Over 90% of each medical school class volunteers with us at some point over the course of their four years. Volunteering with us not only offers students a way to gain independence through clinical experiences, research opportunities, and leadership roles, but also enables them to care for patients who are traditionally underserved in our current healthcare system. Since our patients are uninsured adults in New York City who earn less than 400% of the federal poverty limit, we focus on long-term primary care to help them manage their chronic medical conditions. We have been humbled by the persistent generosity of the WCM and NYP communities in helping us provide our services to the NYC community.
Over the last year, we have taken steps to continue caring for our patients during this difficult and unprecedented time. We are painfully aware that recent epidemiological studies have shown that the demographics to which our patients belong have been adversely affected more frequently by COVID-19, both in sheer case number and fatality. To address these systemic challenges, we have adapted our in-person clinic model to a Zoom Telemedicine platform, mailed patients home blood-pressure monitors, remotely reimbursed patient medication purchases, and subsidized our patients to purchase healthy groceries. While we continue thinking of new ways to help our patients, we hope that these initiatives will prevent lapses in care, enable our patients to afford and therefore adhere to their medication regimens, and help them maintain a healthy diet by protecting their food security. While many challenges lie ahead, we are committed to our patients and our mission to provide the access to healthcare they deserve.