Providing nearly 2,900 cost-free health services a year, the Shade Tree Clinic’s (STC) origin story and mission emphasize the success of student-led health initiatives. Connections between the Shade Tree Clinic, the Center for Health Services, and the Student Health Coalition go back decades. Dr. Robert F. Miller, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Faculty and STC Medical Director, shares his remarks:
I have known about the Student Health Coalition almost since arriving at Vanderbilt in 1980 and through my associations with Irwin [Venick], Tom John, and Lew [Lefkowitz]. I also enjoyed the fact that many of the people who helped Vanderbilt medical students establish the clinic had in some way had connections to the Student Health Coalition years earlier. I remind students on a regular basis that our commitment to the community follows in your shadow. Irwin brought many members of the Student Health Coalition for a Lefkowitz Hour presentation a few years ago.
Shade Tree provides care for a complicated panel of patients. We began as a primary care clinic in 2005 and have added many specialties. Our patient care is similar to what you did in the 1970s. We have a social worker (our only paid employee). We offer free medications, free transportation when needed, legal services, and some food. Almost all medical students participate in some way. Nearly 100 faculty help as well.
Details about inter-disciplinary collaboration between medical, nursing, pharmacy, and law students along with outcomes of care can be found in the STC Annual Report 2019-2020.