Community Health Care

Community+Health+Care

With a goal of helping the community, Westminster Free Clinic continuously takes in low income patients to help them discover their medical histories. Partnering with local organizations that donate time and supplies and utilizing teen volunteers puts their goal close at hand.
Westminster Free Clinic is a private, non-profit organization that strives to help those with low income, and other financial issues in order to prevent patients from having to pay for health care, in our community. In addition, the clinic is also used as a training site where high school students are given an opportunity to take a look into healthcare careers.
“We help patients in our community that need financial assistance and can’t afford their medical bills, otherwise they would not be able to receive the proper assistance they need,” junior Maya Johnson said. “Some of these families have difficulties paying their rent alone, and if they have medical issues, their medical bills can cost thousands.”
This opportunity is not for everyone, and each student volunteer is required to go through a rigorous application process.
“The acceptance rate is around about 15 to 20 percent,” senior Kathlynn Meadors said. “It’s relatively low compared to the amount of students that want to get in. It’s very competitive.”
“The clinic looks at a variety of qualities in their volunteers, and students can be chosen for several different reasons.”
“You have to be reliable. That’s one of the number one qualities,” Meadors said. “You’re dealing with people that don’t necessarily know a lot about their own medical issues, so [volunteers need to have] consistency, reliability, and speaking ability.”
These are just a few characteristics the clinic looks for in their volunteers.
“A lot of students who work at the clinic are bilingual because a majority of our patients only speak Spanish,” Johnson said. “They’re extremely helpful to the program because they help translate.”
The clinic begins with patient intake at 5 pm, having a first come first serve policy, they are able to assist over 100 patients each Wednesday night. The volunteers come around 4:30 pm for setup, and leave around 10:30 pm after clean up.
Most volunteers take medical history and present cases to doctors, take out the trash, clean up, and overall make sure everything is where it needs to be efficient and safe for the clinic.
“We first present to the nurses and we have to follow this sheet of paper that has an outline of what we are supposed to cover when presenting,” Julie Maya said. “[Starting with] stating name and age and then chief complaint and with more details about their chief complain like onset, location, duration, etc. After presenting to the nurse she writes a summary to the doctor and then we present again to the doctor.”
Many of the volunteers discovered the opportunity from various faculty members around campus, such as the Wrestling Coach Manuel Valdez and Majors adviser Lou Ann Lemmo.
“My wrestling coach told me about [this opportunity], he’s one of the clinic managers,” Medders said. “He’s been helping a lot of kids, and is responsible for interviewing new volunteers.”
Each selected student either becomes a regular volunteer or is placed in a management position. Two managers were selected from TOHS, Kathlynn Meadors and Janell Cruz. Unlike volunteers, managers do administrative work rather than working hands on with the patients.
“We intake patients, give them appointments, and make sure all the doctors are taking patients consistently,” Meadors said. “All administrative work comes from the managers, and we manage the students and make sure they are doing what they should be.”
Westminster Free Clinic has several programs besides the Wednesday night clinics,  in order to fulfill the healthcare needs of the community. The clinic provides early access health care, innovative programming, volunteer professionals, and provides high school interns with real life experience.
“The clinic has several programs and services that help the community,” Maya said. “Including the internship program, the clinic also offers chronic disease programs, dental care services, preventative care and mental health services, just to name a few.”
Students throughout the CVUSD are participating in these programs and are helping take a step toward their future and discover if the medical field is the path for them.