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UGA, CCSD Partner to Provide Health Care for Students, Others

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A partnership between the University of Georgia and the Clarke County School District has resulted in more than 300 patients receiving free medical care. The Clarke Middle Health Care Center opened in September and provides free care for students, their families, and their teachers. That care ranges from mental health care to legal support. The clinic has provided more than $66,000 in free medical care, and nearly three-quarters of patients have returned to class after their visit, helping CCSD accomplish its goal of reducing absenteeism.

The center is staffed by an interdisciplinary team of UGA students and faculty. Patients are cared for by first-, second- and third-year AU/UGA Medical Partnership students under faculty supervision.

Dr. Suzanne Lester, an associate professor and medical director of the Athens Free Clinic, has led the efforts to establish the Clarke Middle Health Center.

“It is such a great university-community partnership. The medical students are seen as an asset to the community, and their interactions with the patients are going to have an indelible impact on how the medical students approach all patients in the future,” Lester said. “We are teaching medical students to consider the full context of the patient, remove barriers and improve health outcomes. It’s going well, and now I’m looking for ways to expand our impact.”

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
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