March 2019: When you walk into Arubah Community Clinic, there’s an immediate sense of hospitality, safety and community. Dozens of volunteers have worked hard to ensure each patient that comes for treatment feels right at home.
Founded in 2011, this free clinic sits in the heart of downtown Collinsville and is a labor of love from community leaders to anyone without insurance in need of medical assistance.
“One of the things that draws people here, even if they live closer to another free clinic, is the unique atmosphere that we provide to our patients,” said Arubah’s executive director Gary Nunley. “They feel that genuine love and concern when they walk through the door.”
Funded entirely by private donations, the clinic is open every Monday and Thursday evening and the third Saturday of the month. Arubah draws more than 150 patients each month for medical assistance from not only Collinsville, but also surrounding areas, and it operates primarily through volunteers. That volunteer base includes medical doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, X-ray technicians and receptionists.
Arubah serves as the medical home for its patients. On-site services include x-ray.
“It’s the heart of the place that draws a lot of our volunteers here—the opportunity to do what many of us feel called to do at some level, to be of service, to make a difference in our community, and to be the hands and feet of God,” Nunley said.
This January, Arubah introduced a partnership with the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and College of Osteopathic Medicine, where second-year medical students serve at the clinic as part of the volunteer medical team. This semester, Arubah has about 120 OSU medical students participating in the program.
“This is a great place for them to learn about community health and get some hands-on experience,” Nunley said. “We’re helping them; they’re helping us. It’s a great partnership. Everyone has been blessed by it, for sure.”
Working alongside local medical professionals, these students get real-world experience in an environment many of them have yet to see in their field of study.
“For a lot of them, this is their first opportunity to help a real patient,” Mallory Hamilton, the clinic’s volunteer coordinator. “This is really teaching them to see all aspects and all the variables.”
Arubah clinical coordinator Susan Scott hopes they are making a lasting impact on these students, one they will remember long after they graduate and step into
Located on Collinsville’s historic Main Street, Arubah provides a warm, welcoming feeling for those who find themselves in need of care.
“The big picture is that they have this need in the back of their head so when they become the professional they know there’s a need and think, ‘What can I do?’ ‘How do we fix that problem?’”
Just weeks into the program, these medical students have not only gained knowledge and experience, but they have adopted the same passion for the clinic and its patients as its volunteers and staff.
“We try to heal the whole person—physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. That’s the focus of everyone that comes in,” Hamilton said. “Everyone is so invested in every person that comes in with a sincere passion to help.”
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