Last night was my last time at the Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) where I volunteer as a student social worker on a monthly basis. SHAC is a free health clinic in Carrboro run entirely by UNC graduate-level students that comes to life every Wednesday night for community members who don't have access to health care. Every single client who comes through the doors of the clinic meets with a representative of the School of Social Work, Public Health and finally a team of medical students who take care of anything from the common cold, and school physicals to pap smears and prescriptions (and if needed, dermatology, pregnancy testing and HIV/STD testing are also available). Each week volunteer attending physicians are present to hold case consult with each team of med students in order to assure quality control. The break room is always full of students and doctors consulting, talking, and planning.
Last night things felt different than usual. The majority of our clients are typically low-income families, and we have a significant number of Spanish-speaking immigrants who come to the clinic, but last night I talked to more middle-class clientele than ever before. Most had been recently laid off and had no access to health insurance. A bartender. A carpenter. A human resources specialist. This recession is no respecter of persons.