Student-Run Free Clinics Stand at a Critical Junction Between Undergraduate Medical Education, Clinical Care, and Advocacy
Student-run free clinics (SRFCs) act as primary care providers that bring health care to populations in need and are an important source of undergraduate medical education (UME), guiding trainees through the art of history taking and physical examination. However, they are also social justice and advocacy initiatives-addressing disparity in access to care and educating medical trainees with firsthand exposure to socioeconomic determinants of health and language and medical illiteracy barriers. The authors present an examination of the impact of SRFCs, supported by academic literature, in their 3 roles as medical care providers, as a component of medical education, and as advocacy organizations. Based on the evidence of that literature and decades of direct SRFC leadership experience, the authors make the case that SRFCs deserve a prominent role in the discussion of how UME institutions contribute to correcting health care disparities and to serving social justice reform.