Six decades ago, the wives of faculty members at the fledgling UF College of Medicine banded together to form a volunteer organization rooted in service to the UF Health community. Since then, members of the UF Medical Guild have devoted themselves to funding student scholarships, providing program grants for UF Health and the surrounding Gainesville community and supporting the hospital system in its mission of providing compassionate, high-quality care for patients.
Since its inception, the UF Medical Guild has contributed more than $1.5 million to these causes. To mark its 60th anniversary, the organization is stepping forward to support a vital student program at the UF College of Medicine while also impacting the region’s medically underserved. Through a gift of $250,000, the UF Medical Guild created an endowment for the Equal Access Clinic Network, a free medical service in the Gainesville community staffed entirely by medical, nursing, pharmacy, public health and dentistry students under the guidance of UF Health faculty.
“Our committee worked for over 18 months with two main goals in mind,” said Lynn Newman, the UF Medical Guild’s anniversary committee chair. “The first goal was to recognize and commemorate the six decades of friendship, volunteerism and philanthropy of the many Medical Guild members. The second was to select a recipient that resonates with the philosophy of the Guild members and provide a gift that would be enduring and serve an unmet need. The Equal Access Clinic Network was a perfect fit, and we are pleased to contribute to its continued success.”
The Equal Access Clinic Network’s mission is two-fold: to give students in the health professions opportunities to engage in leadership roles and gain hands-on experience while providing much needed health care to the area’s underserved population. The clinics operate in a different location each evening, Monday through Thursday, and offer free primary care and specialty services. In a year, the clinics handle upward of 2,500 visits with patients who otherwise would have limited options for medical care. Equipment, supplies and the costs of care coordination and health outcomes monitoring are borne by the Equal Access Clinic Network, making this endowment a virtual lifeline for operational sustainability.
Joseph A. Tyndall, MD, MPH, interim dean of the UF College of Medicine, joined UF Medical Guild leaders and the student leaders of the Equal Access Clinic Network for a brief ceremony Jan. 8 to sign the gift commitment.
“We are deeply grateful not only for the many decades of contributions from the UF Medical Guild,” Tyndall said, “but especially for their decision to provide enduring support for a program that hones the skills of our students and instills and reinforces the concepts of compassionate and comprehensive care for those in need.”
This story originally ran in the Summer 2019 issue of the Doctor Gator newsletter.