Cary, NC – Every year, a handful of students across North Carolina are selected for the North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to provide much needed medical care to low-income and underserved communities. And one of those students is a Cary resident, who will be getting healthcare to those who would otherwise not get it.
Service for the Underserved
Yasamin Sanii is a student at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and is one of only 23 students this year named an North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellow. Through this fellowship, Sanii will be working in Greenville at a free clinic, treating members of the homeless population and other patients who go to the clinic.
“There are a lot of gaps in their care. Most don’t have a primary care provider and can’t afford co-pays,” Sanii said. “Without a free clinic, they wouldn’t be seen by any healthcare providers.”
Sanii, who worked in Ecuador earlier this month to provide healthcare treatment there, said she will have to main tasks through the fellowship: to provide care through the free student-run clinic and to find people a way to get more stable healthcare down the road.
“The ultimate goal is to refer people to permanent primary care providers,” Sanii said. “But some patients can’t be referred because of things like the cost or lack of access to transportation so we will also give them tools to improve their lifestyle and help their health that way.”
One of the challenges Sanii said she and her partner in the project, Katherine Mulligan, have seen is many people have untreated chronic conditions. Where primary care can’t be referred, Sanii said they will provide information on how to better manage these conditions.
Working With Communities
Sanii said she never set out to work in service but since going through these tracks in school, she has become dedicated to making sure people get healthcare.
“In healthcare, there is a lot of inequality and that’s something I feel is unjust,” she said.
While Sanii said the North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a great opportunity, she said she would be doing this sort of work regardless.
“But it gets me in contact with other students interested in this kind of work and we can find ways to create more projects,” she said.
Story by Michael Papich. Photo courtesy of Yasamin Sanii.