Martín-Baró Clinic: Educational Outreach and Mentorship
Grantee: Professor Félix Kury in partnership with Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. and the University of California San Francisco
On any given Saturday morning, dozens of working class, mostly Latino residents of the City's Mission District walk through the door of this very different type of medical clinic -- a small, home-like space, painted in warm colors, crowded and noisy like a typical family house -- seeking relief for a range of painful afflictions.
They're day laborers and mothers, recent immigrants and refugees, homeless or workers with calloused hands and tired bodies. They even have to tend to workers who hold down two or three jobs and pay taxes yet still have no access to private medical care, and tend to citizens who previously had good health insurance but who -- due to the economic malaise in the U.S. affecting primarily the poor and middle class - no longer have a job or any way to see a doctor.
So they come here to Clínica Martín-Baró, a student-run facility. They come to this once-a-week, minimally funded, all-volunteer health outpost in the barrio latino that never turns anyone away even if they can't afford anything for their medications. Known simply as the Clínica, this community-focused effort is a collaboration between UCSF graduate medical students, undergraduate students of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, faculty, community physicians, and, more recently, the Mission Neighborhood Center.
Before beginning their work with the Clínica directly, students must take the semester-long course "Latino Health Care Perspectives", offered by SF State Professor Félix Kury, where they prepare themselves with the knowledge, critical skills and social consciousness needed to do this kind of work. Professor Kury serves as Program Director and Faculty Advisor for the undergraduate students. As he sees it, the Clínica strives to (1) promote wellness in an underserved community through primary care health services and health education; (2) prepare students to become life-long advocates for underserved communities; (3) provide a space for profoundly meaningful human contact, a heightened social consciousness and the intellectual preparation to better understand the socio-economic structural context of the healthcare crisis in the U.S.
When Professor Kury's ability to continue his work this semester was threatened by budget cutbacks, he applied for a grant from the Community-University Empowerment (CUE) fund sponsored by the Chávez Institute and the College of Ethnic Studies: CCI stepped in to support his mentorship and outreach activities.
Thanks in great part to Dr. Kury's passionate guidance, these young students are starting their professional careers already wedded to the concepts of social change, culturally appropriate service, and fostering a community's understanding of their own agency, their own power to re-weave the fabric of their community life.