Shade Tree Clinic, Nashville, Tennessee

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.

2023 Grant Recipient:  In January 2023, Shade Tree Clinic (STC) launched a free pediatric primary care clinic, beginning with an adolescent patient population.   The clinic addresses disparities in healthcare access among Tennessee children by providing free primary care to uninsured adolescents in the Nashville area. We believe this clinic can meaningfully increase vaccination rates, reduce the severity of untreated mental health conditions, and decrease hospitalizations for a panel of low-income adolescents.  To most effectively address these needs, the grant from the Legacy Fund will help us to increase our vaccine supply as well as procure vaccines specific to the pediatric population as well as supply medication suited to their medical needs. 

2022 Grant Recipient:  Dr. Robert F. Miller, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Faculty and STC Medical Director, describes current practices and how grant monies will further the mission:

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.