Dr. Ellen Beck has won a $125,000 Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her work with the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project in San Diego. Her clinics catch thousands of patients who fall through the safety net in a county that does not have a county hospital. The clinics also train doctors to care for the poor.
Here is the Irvine Foundation write-up on Beck’s work, and a video profile of her provided by the foundation:
Dr. Ellen Beck’s free medical clinics in San Diego serve patients and doctors alike. They catch thousands of patients who fall through the county’s safety net (San Diego, uniquely, does not have a county hospital), while training doctors to care for society’s least-privileged. The project, directed by Dr. Beck and managed mostly by medical students, began in 1997 in a church basement with three doctors and five students, holding bake sales to pay for supplies. Today, 500 students see 2,000 patients annually at two churches and a school. They provide free, comprehensive care (medical, dental, medications, mental health counseling and acupuncture) for people who do not have insurance or qualify for government aid — and even make house calls to the homeless. Through contributions and volunteers, the clinic’s average cost per patient is a mere $800 per year, and many graduates start their own practices in underserved communities.