The University of Virginia and U.Va. physician Dr. Mohan Nadkarni have been honored by the Virginia Association of Free & Charitable Clinics for their work to provide health care to uninsured Virginians.
Nadkarni, co-founder of the Charlottesville Free Clinic, was recognized as the group’s Physician Volunteer Champion, while U.Va. was recognized as one of two Institution of Higher Learning Champions.
Nadkarni started the Charlottesville Free Clinic with fellow U.Va. medical resident Dr. Paul DeMarco in 1992 after an uninsured friend was unable to get needed care for a heart infection. As co-founder, Nadkarni played an important role in raising money, finding the clinic’s original home on West Main Street and setting up operations.
Nadkarni has remained involved for more than 20 years, said executive director Erika Viccellio, serving as a physician volunteer, a major donor, chief recruiter, chair of the medical advisory committee, board member and community spokesperson.
“You name it, Mo has done it to be sure that the Charlottesville Free Clinic is thriving and remaining true to its vision of ‘an open door to health care for our neighbors in need,’” Viccellio said.
The clinic has grown steadily over the last 20 years, adding services and serving an increasing number of patients. In fiscal year 2012, the clinic cared for 3,300 patients during 9,000 visits, offering medical and dental care along with health and wellness programs and a pharmacy that filled more than 30,000 prescriptions.
“I am proud that we have been able to provide high-quality health care to more than 18,000 patients who otherwise may not have received care at all,” Nadkarni said. “I’m also proud that we have been able to expose so many volunteers to the genuine needs of the working poor and uninsured who live in our own backyard.”
One of the key supporters of the Charlottesville Free Clinic has been the U.Va. Medical Center, which provides thousands of dollars in lab services each year for the clinic. Faculty and students from U.Va.’s schools of Medicine and Nursing have also provided thousands of volunteer hours at Central Virginia free clinics and to Mission of Mercy dental events throughout Virginia.
“The work of the clinics could not be accomplished without dedicated medical and nursing volunteers,” wrote Linda D. Wilkinson, CEO of the Virginia Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, in a letter congratulating U.Va. on its award. “Thank you again for providing an education to generations of doctors and nurses, along with the passion and importance of giving back to their communities.”
“As a public, nonprofit health system, our responsibilities include ensuring all Virginians can access the care they need,” said R. Edward Howell, vice president and CEO of the U.Va. Medical Center. “We’re proud to partner with the Charlottesville Free Clinic and other groups to provide these vital services.”