Medical Students Team Up With Community Group To Offer Medical Advice

By Maureen Kyle

(LOUISVILLE, May 13th, 2004) -- Healthcare costs continue to rise, and for some Louisville residents, adequate healthcare is almost impossible to find. As WAVE 3's Maureen Kyle reports, one community group is teaming up with local medical students to give those less fortunate individual medical attention.

For Clarksdale resident Perry Pots, medical attention isn't always thorough. "It's messed up," he says. "They let me go from the hospital last night and I didn't know it until this morning that they still left the IV in my arm."

For Pat Mayberry, another Clarksdale resident, healthcare isn't always fast. "Now I'm sittin' here with my back killing me, and I couldn't sit for a straight eight hours. And for a nurse to say another eight hours ... no. I'm not waiting."

Now, a group of ministers called the Louisville African-American Think Tank, with the help of a couple dozen local medical students, is starting a healthcare initiative of its own. Organizers are comparing this program to "Doctors Without Borders."

University of Louisville medical students plan to visit with Clarksdale residents and talk about the kind of healthcare they're recieving and how it can be improved.

With the hospital directly across the street from the housing project, students like Bradley Richmond are already familiar with the problems facing their neighbors. "Coming by here every day, I see in Clarksdale -- the health conditions here are probably not the health conditions we see out in suburbia."

UofL Community Outreach Director Jason Garley agrees. "They (Clarksdale residents) suffer from poor nutrition -- asthma's really prevelant in the young kids -- hypertension, diabetes, drug addiction."

Leaders at the think tank say they've found data showing a direct correlation between poor health care and an increase in violence. The Clarksdale community has seen a spike in crime in the past two months, with at least four shootings -- two of them fatal.

Even though the UofL medical students aren't able to treat the residents of Clarksdale, they'll be able to give them some much needed medical advice.

The Louisville African-American Think Tank is also working with Clarksdale residents to help them find jobs. Organizers think jobs and better healthcare will help reduce the violence within the community.

Online Reporter: Maureen Kyle

Online Producer: Michael Dever