The donation will increase clinic hours for underserved communities across central New Jersey.
Rutgers Health Outreach Practice Experience (H.O.P.E.) clinic has received a $60,000 donation from the Affinity Foundation.
In return, officials plan to use the funding to extend the hours of operation and bolster the clinic’s free medical services.
“We are dedicated to transforming lives and empowering communities,” said Karla Wallack, executive director of the Affinity Foundation, the nonprofit organization of Affinity Federal Credit Union. “The Affinity Foundation is committed to equitable access to health care for underserved populations and supports organizations that provide health care access for financially disadvantaged patients.”
H.O.P.E. Clinic is run by Rutgers directors Frank Giannelli and Elizabeth Di Prospero. Nancy Daly, a clinic nurse and founder of Charity Works, oversees administrative aspects of the facility. Charity Works is a nonprofit organization that owns the space and provides management support on the days the clinic is open.
“Part of our mission is to make medical services accessible and affordable to the communities we partner with,” said Giannelli, an assistant professor for the physician assistant program at the Rutgers School of Health Professions. “With help from Affinity, we can provide free primary care to uninsured and underserved adults and keep the clinic open longer.”
H.O.P.E. serves patients who are uninsured and at high risk for serious medical issues. Under the supervision of licensed medical providers, physician assistant students provide aid in a variety of medical services such as health assessments, chronic disease management and sick visits.
“We were so impressed by the dedication and passion the Rutgers H.O.P.E. clinicians have for their patients,” Wallack said. “They take the time to really listen to their patients and understand their health concerns, as they know it is hard for their patients to get to medical appointments."
Faculty- and student-run health clinics have become popular programs among health professions schools for fostering education and community service among students. “By expanding community-based service-learning clinical opportunities for our physician assistant students, they learn about the social determinants of health and health care disparities firsthand by serving those experiencing disparities,” Giannelli added.
Launched in July 2021, the Rutgers H.O.P.E. Clinic is in a renovated office suite at 1314 Park Avenue, Unit 3, Plainfield. Owned and operated by Charity Works, the clinic includes a welcoming reception area, two private exam rooms and a laboratory. The free clinic operates every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.