This spring, the UK College of Medicine-Northern Kentucky Campus will graduate its first class of students. After four years, the campus not only celebrates its full complement of students, but also their extraordinary commitment to serving their communities.

Holly Danneman, MD, associate dean for the campus, said her students are “driven” and “socially minded” when faced with challenges. “They identify a problem and don’t sit complacent waiting for the world to take care of the problems,” she added.

A prime example is the Compassionate Care Reaching yoU (CCRU) Clinic, a free student-run clinic that opened in May 2022.

Based on data collected July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019, nearly 2,000 individuals experience homelessness in Northern Kentucky, with almost half reporting one or more disabilities, according to the Northern Kentucky Homelessness Working
Group’s report.

CCRU is a community-based health care clinic at the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky helping address health care needs for those experiencing homelessness in the community. The CCRU clinic is run by medical students and supported by community physicians. Together, they provide quality care and support to underserved individuals.

In addition to a wide range of comprehensive medical services, the CCRU clinic refers patients in need to the local emergency shelter, which provides social services such as counseling and support groups to address social determinants of health. CCRU also focuses on community outreach and education. The clinic partners with local organizations and community groups to offer programs and services including health screenings, nutrition counseling, and disease prevention workshops. The CCRU clinic also maintains partnerships with a local health clinic and pharmacy to ensure community members have access to the medications they need at no cost to them.

On average, the clinic sees 10 patients each day during its hours of operation, Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. CCRU has treated close to 500 patients since it opened its doors in 2022.

Each shift is staffed by one licensed, UK-appointed physician and six medical students. Christa Mattingly, a fourth-year Northern Kentucky Campus student who helped establish CCRU, said the experience allows medical students like herself to learn and grow “in ways that we don’t always get when we’re in the classroom or even in other clinics.”

“This is a unique opportunity to see some of these things firsthand and hear patient stories from members of our community,” she said. “And I think we’ve just been really excited for that opportunity and learned a lot and grown
a lot from that.”

Overall, the clinic is an important resource for the community, and in turn, helps the UK College of Medicine train future physicians more effectively by exposing medical students to community-based medicine. Leadership at the Northern Kentucky Campus praises its students for taking on such a big role in advancing the region’s health care.

“Our students have definitely embraced the opportunity to give back to the community,” said Meredith Landorf, MD, assistant dean for the Northern Kentucky Campus.