COM students receive grant for ongoing work with Martha’s Clinic

November 8, 2006

(TEMPLE, TX) — Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine student leaders recently received a $14,000 matching grant from The Rotary Foundation and Rotary clubs in Temple and Monterrey, Mexico, to purchase new equipment and enhance overall care at Martha’s Clinic.

Martha’s Clinic is a student-run free clinic founded in 1994 by Eric Beshires and Eric Wilke, two Texas A&M medical students who saw a need for better health care for the homeless population in Temple.

For the past 12 years, HSC-COM medical students have continued to provide quality health care to the homeless and indigent residents of Temple and Bell County. Offering free medical examinations and treatment, the clinic serves more than 125 people monthly and is staffed by volunteer medical students and local community physicians. It operates solely on grant funding and donations.

Plans are to use part of the Rotary grant for a diagnostic EKG (electrocardiogram) machine, external automatic defibrillator and other medical equipment.

“The number of uninsured residents of the United States, particularly Texas, and more specifically, the community of Temple, is overwhelming,” said Lam Le, fourth-year HSC-COM medical student and Martha’s Clinic co-director. “The grant by the Rotary Club will allow us to furnish our examination rooms with much-needed equipment. It will create an immediate impact on the quality of care our students and faculty provide to patients of the clinic.”

Clinic volunteers are also grateful to the Rotary for the chance to increase and improve services they will be able to provide to people who need them most.

“It is a great honor to receive the grant from Rotary,” Mr. Le said. “It validates the service that our students provide through Martha’s Clinic. The Rotary Club is definitely a respected organization in Temple. With their lead, hopefully other community organizations in Temple will follow and make Martha’s Clinic a priority.”

Along with Mr. Le, Martha’s Clinic board members for 2006-07 are Laurel Brown, Sarah Labuda, Anthony James, April Schiemenz, Ruby Lee and Lee-Lee (Hoa) Nguyen. Jim Littlejohn is M.D./Ph.D. representative.

Meanwhile, HSC-COM medical students also received a $20,000 “Caring for Community Award” grant earlier this year from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative.

— Marketing & Communications