Honoring Medical Student Volunteers During COVID-19

Pitt School of Medicine wanted to give Medical Students a big shout-out for their continuous volunteer efforts during the pandemic! Dr. Robin Maier stated, 'Dr. Victoria McCurry, the Medical Director of the 9th Street Free Clinic in McKeesport, expressed her deep admiration and gratitude for the great work of a number of Pitt Medical Students during this national crisis.'

Dr. McCurry wrote a generous summary of their efforts:

"At 9th Street Clinic for the past 3 months, we have had the stalwart, ongoing support of Ben Zuchelkowski and a troop of consistent medical student volunteers supporting us as the clinic, in the effort to stay open through the pandemic, to serve our un-insured and homeless community of patients here in McKeesport.

The goals our clinic had were: 1. Continuing to see new patients and 2. Providing ongoing medications and lab work and follow up care and 3. ‘Rolling-out’ a new initiative for tele-medicine clinic visits and follow ups by phone, in an effort to protect some of our older and more vulnerable patients from having to come into clinic to be seen during this time.

These medical student volunteers showed up every week, willing to work however and wherever they were needed. They helped us realize all three of these goals. These young professionals were reliable, focused, eager to get involved.

One of them, Stephanie Hum, a graduating MS-4, was integral in getting these new tele-medicine visits off the ground and creating a work flow which we hope to utilize going forward. This entire volunteer group, including Jacqueline Visina and Nicole Paul, were there consistently every week and stayed from beginning to end of the clinic day – up to 6 hours each week, along with the others who came to volunteer at different weeks to support the effort and fill in for each other (Mikaela Fenn, Sarah Minney, Eric Adams, Niteesh Sundaram) and Stephanie!

Each of these brave medical students chose to remain on the front lines of our 9th Street Clinic’s function with patients in the early days of the COVID outbreak here in McKeesport. All have remained safe and healthy throughout their time with us, but truly demonstrated courage and an ongoing commitment to their medical callings.

Behind this entire effort was Ben Zuchelkowski, who worked tirelessly to orchestrate the volunteer response for us, and also connected us with a local non-for-profit here in Pittsburgh, Feeding the Front Line and Off their Plate, which has since been serving us free food to support our clinic work.

Even as the medical school starts to re-open and the volunteers had to return to class this week, Ben was thoughtful enough to contact me to volunteer himself to come this week, in order to aid with the transition, until our own volunteers started to return to clinic.

I think I can speak on behalf of our entire 9th Street Clinic – physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social worker and MA and all other volunteers to say how appreciative we are of the dedication and work that they have shown."

Thank you for all of your support efforts during this time, we are proud of you!