The student-run free clinic: An ideal site to teach interprofessional education?

Brian Sick, Lisa Sheldon, Katy Ajer, Qi Wang, Lei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Student-run free clinics (SRFCs) often include an interprofessional group of health professions students and preceptors working together toward the common goal of caring for underserved populations. Therefore, it would seem that these clinics would be an ideal place for students to participate in an interprofessional collaborative practice and for interprofessional education to occur. This article describes a prospective, observational cohort study of interprofessional attitudes and skills including communication and teamwork skills and attitudes about interprofessional learning, relationships and interactions of student volunteers in a SRFC compared to students who applied and were not accepted to the clinic and to students who never applied to the clinic. This study showed a decrease in attitudes and skills after the first year for all groups. Over the next two years, the total score on the survey for the accepted students was higher than the not accepted students. The students who were not accepted also became more similar to students who never applied. This suggests a protective effect against declining interprofessional attitudes and skills for the student volunteers in a SRFC. These findings are likely a function of the design of the clinical and educational experience in the clinic and of the length of contact the students have with other professions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-418
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of interprofessional care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Phillips Neighborhood Clinic (PNC) is a SRFC located in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Minneapolis, MN, with a dual mission of caring for underserved patients and education of health professions students. The PNC is open twice a week in the basement of a church as a first-come, first-served walk-in clinic. Care is provided by students from the University of Minnesota Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Public Health and Social Work. Patient visits are conducted in interprofessional teams of students who see the patients as a group with pre-and post-visit huddles. Students are supervised by volunteer preceptors from the various health professions. Patient services include free medications, laboratories, acute and chronic care medical visits, physical therapy visits, mental health counseling, nutrition counseling, health education and foot care. Clinic operations are funded by grants, donations and fundraising. Technical and administrative support is provided by the University of Minnesota.


  • Interprofessional care
  • Interprofessional education
  • Student-run free clinic
  • Surveys
  • Underserved
  • Volunteerism


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