UK Salvation Army offers hands-on experience to medical students

McKenna Horsley

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For many in Lexington, the UK Salvation Army Clinic is their only access to healthcare, but for UK students, UKSAC offers an opportunity to learn about the medical field in a hands-on environment. 

According to UKSAC’s website, the clinic is “a free clinic run by medical students from the University of Kentucky.”

“It enables interested and concerned medical students to help treat and serve the population,” said Eric Weber, a second year medical student and one of UKSAC’s clinic managers. “And (UKSAC) also provides extended training for students outside the academic medical school.”

The clinic began in 1986 by the Lexington Salvation Army. Now, UK College of Medicine students run the project with oversight by a board of directors. UKSAC is located at 736 W. Main St. in the Salvation Army building.

UKSAC relies on volunteers consisting of undergraduate students, medical school students, UK College of Pharmacy students and physicians during clinic hours on Tuesday and Thursday nights. UKSAC is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., according to their website.

UKSAC takes walk-in appointments on a first come, first served basis. Another clinic manager and second year medical student Ann Dickson said the clinic sees almost “six or seven patients a night.”

“I think one thing that a lot of people don’t understand is that accessibility to healthcare is still very difficult,” Dickson said. “Just because you have health insurance doesn’t make it easy to get to a doctor or get an appointment.”

 Weber said that when the Affordable Care Act was passed, many free health clinics, similar to UKSAC, were if they would still have patients.

“We are still full almost every night,” Weber said.

Besides general clinic appointments, UKSAC offers a free smoking cessation, nutrition clinic and small pharmacy at the clinic for its patients.

“We (stock the pharmacy) very cheaply, too,” said second year medical student and UKSAC’s financial manager Mary Kate Greenwood. “It costs us about $21 for just one patient.”

UKSAC receives most of its funds from donations, self-fundraising and grants. The UK College of Medicine typically holds an annual casino night fundraiser for UKSAC at the end of April.

“(The casino night) is open to anyone who wants to come,” Greenwood said.