Mary Baldwin University’s master of science in physician assistant program (MSPA) has partnered with Augusta Health to help bring quality healthcare to vulnerable and underserved populations in Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro.
Students and professors now work alongside physicians and nurses from the nonprofit healthcare provider in a new mobile clinic that offers a robust slate of free and low-cost medical services like chronic disease management, cancer screening, lab work, vaccinations, and primary care. The unit travels to different areas in the community, setting up two evenings a week in large, easy-to-access spaces like fire departments, community centers, or churches. It provides free transportation, stays open for four hours, and typically treats 20–25 patients a night.
“This is an incredible opportunity for students to gain real-world clinical experience working with professionals to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable community members,” said physician assistant and MBU professor, Jennifer Hunt, who helped spearhead the expanded partnership, and oversees students at the clinic. Experiences build on a required policy, ethics, and populations course by showing students “the degree and severity of healthcare needs that aren’t currently being met, and the extent of the effort it takes to expand access to care.”