Carle Illinois Students Awarded New Grant to Increase Access to Local Health Care; Expands Reach to Shelter Medicine | Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Carle Illinois Students Awarded New Grant to Increase Access to Local Health Care; Expands Reach to Shelter Medicine | Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED) students have received a new grant that will allow them to increase access to health care resources for the underinsured and uninsured. The students have been awarded the Family Medicine Cares USA existing clinic award grant from the American Academic of Family Physicians (AAFP). 

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It was awarded for the CI MED students’ work and research at the Avicenna Community Health Center, a free clinic for the underinsured and uninsured in Champaign County, Illinois. The center provides longitudinal care to an underserved population that is unlikely to receive care otherwise. 


“Avicenna plays a pivotal role in increasing access to health care. It also provides curative and preventative health services in a culturally competent manner utilizing innovative solutions,” said Annabelle Shaffer, second-year medical student and grants and research program leader.


CI MED’s Avicenna program was one of three clinics in the United States to receive the AAFP grant in 2022.  The grant will provide sufficient funding to purchase much-needed new, high-quality medical equipment, including scales, stethoscopes, and ophthalmoscopes. “It will also fund the purchase of laptops and will supply funding for disposable items, such as blood glucose test strips, bandages, and over-the-counter medications,” Shaffer said.


The CI MED student-led team is also expanding its reach to serve individuals experiencing homelessness. Avicenna has recently created a new program called Shelter Medicine, an initiative that brings free medical and case management services directly into the homeless shelter.

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Twice a month, the team sets up a medical clinic at CU at Home, a homeless shelter in Champaign, Illinois. The students and healthcare providers work together to provide basic primary care services such as physical exams, chronic disease management, laboratory tests and over-the-counter medications. 


“This initiative is an important step towards addressing the unique health care needs of individuals experiencing homelessness who may feel neglected by the health care system and have complex financial, social, and environmental factors that impact their health,” said Anisha Mittal, second-year medical student and co-director of Avicenna’s outreach team which oversees the Shelter Medicine initiative.


The Avicenna Community Health Center is always open to donations and collaborations with other community organizations as well as looking for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and social workers to volunteer at their Sunday clinic from 1-4 p.m. Physician volunteers are especially needed on Fridays from 3-5 p.m., with the Shelter Medicine initiative in collaboration with CU at Home. If interested, please email [email protected].


For more information or to partner with Avicenna, visit their website HERE.