Virginia’s free and charitable clinics have worked tirelessly to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in all they do and provide healthcare services that also address social and economic drivers of poor health. Clinics are culturally sensitive organizations, serving patients from a wide spectrum of ethnicities and backgrounds. It is not one size fits all medicine. The clinics take a whole person approach and treat every patient who walks through the door as a human being and unique individual. We look beyond medicine – even going so far as making sure a patient has the transportation necessary to get to an appointment. At free clinics, the focus is on addressing all of the factors, including social and economic factors, that may impact a person’s health.
It is a fact that communities of color are more likely to lack access to medical care, affordable housing, healthy food, and transportation. Those factors, along with many others, disproportionately impact the health of black and brown communities. And clinics play a pivotal role in reducing health disparities in these and other underserved communities across the state.
Clinics serve as an efficient and high-quality medical home for individuals in need. This was never more evident than during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of which, led to an unprecedented surge in patients needing healthcare service and lacking the means to afford it. This included treating patients with COVID-19 as well as performing testing and administering vaccinations. And our work continues. Free and charitable clinics are here to provide an essential safety net and deliver care to those who might otherwise go without.
“We know that there are great disparities and inequities in our healthcare system. The COVID crisis has really highlighted the disparities in access to care and the consequences of not having access to care in the Hispanic and the African American communities.”
- Sally Graham, Nurse Practitioner, Clinic Executive