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HL20: Ellen Beck, MD—Giving Life to Hope in the Desert of the Underserved

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 13, 2012

But from the start, Beck was committed to tight supervision, and she kept that promise. A diverse and expanding array of doctors and other practitioners, many of whom are former students who have returned as volunteer faculty, help oversee the students regularly.

While medical student participation is elective, the clinics are a popular choice. Of the 460 future doctors in UCSD's combined four-year program, at least 250 make the clinic part of their credit experience. In their fourth year, the clinic fulfills requirements for a family and underserved medicine clerkship.

"We are very grateful for the support of our community- and health professional-partners, as well as the core support of the university," she says.

If it weren't for the free clinics, Beck says, "patients with no resources would have almost nowhere to turn. It makes me sad that a nation as wealthy as ours has not matured sufficiently to realize that healthcare is a right. Until then, we will do whatever we can to create environments where individual patients take charge of their health and achieve well-being, while we do our best to inspire the next generation of health professionals."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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