The Jackson Free Clinic, which is a student-run medical facility, provides care for more than one thousand uninsured Mississippians each year.
Alexis Brantley, a third-year medical student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), serves on the Jackson Free Clinic board and is hoping to build on what the clinic already offers.
“We’re always looking to expand and do more,” Brantley said.
The newest addition to the Jackson Free Clinic was the pharmacy, where patients can receive their medications free of charge.
“The clinic is a full-service medical and dental clinic. We serve the uninsured population of Mississippi,” said Brantley, who serves as the director of public relations and fundraising for the clinic.
The clinic is open every Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Recently, the board voted to extend its hours due to the high volume of patients, and will begin opening at 10 a.m.
“We conduct thousands of visits with patients across the state at no charge at all,” Brantley said.
The Jackson Free Clinic is completely run by medical, dental, physical therapy and pharmacy students from UMMC. Medical and dental attending physicians also volunteer at the clinic to oversee the students.
“We are a non-profit and rely completely on donations to operate,” Brantley said. “Our mission is to expand access to high-quality healthcare to those who might otherwise not be able to afford it.”
However, not only the patients benefit from the Jackson Free Clinic. The students who take part also gain from the experience as well.
“We also want to foster an environment for students to learn in a collaborative setting, to be active in our community and state, to promote awareness of the ongoing needs of our patients,” Brantley said.
Now, the clinic board is looking to take on another project: transforming the building next door into a dental clinic.
“Right now, we just have two dental rooms in our main building, and we were booked out for four months and had to stop taking bookings,” Brantley said. “Then COVID-19 happened, and now we’re trying to get those people back on the books.”
However, a new dental clinic would allow them to take on more patients at a time and would prevent the delay in scheduling an appointment.
“We would be able to expand our services as far as dental goes,” Brantley said.
COVID-19 has also led to many people losing jobs, and subsequently losing their health insurance. The Jackson Free Clinic is ensuring that they do not have a lapse in care despite loss of insurance.
Since they rely strictly on donations to operate, Brantley said those who are looking to help keep the clinic going can donate by going to the clinic website at jacksonfreeclinic.org.
Alexis Brantley, a graduate of Jackson Academy, earned her bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and is slated to graduate from UMMC in May 2022.
After graduation, she has considered specializing, leaning more toward surgery. However, after taking part in the Jackson Free Clinic, she has considered internal medicine or family medicine.