I have had the privilege of volunteering for the Riverside Free Clinic for the past year and a half. At first, I volunteered in the Diabetes Committee, which allowed me to work directly with diabetic patients and showed me how we can treat and prevent this disease from affecting more people. In March, I began working in the NeedyMeds Committee, which let me view health care from a different perspective. As pre-med students, we are so interested in learning how our bodies work, what can go wrong with them, and what we can do to fix them. However, we lose sight of the fact that many times, even when we know how to manage an illness with medication, it is not always available to people who need it. That is what I admire about the NeedyMeds Committee. We are a liaison between our clinic’s patients and the NeedyMeds organization to get more people the medications they need for little to no cost. When patients utilize our services, I am touched by the gratitude they show towards us and sense of relief they feel when they are able to obtain a medication that they would otherwise have difficulty getting. I am thankful for the experiences I have had at this clinic, not only the wisdom I have gained by volunteering in a free clinic, but also the people I have met and who have shared this experience with me. My Riverside Free Clinic experience is what motivates me to continue to serve underserved populations throughout my career.
- Jessica Monishi