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DEAC Clinic: Free Care to Those in Need, Valuable Training for Students

DEAC Clinic

Since it began in 2008, the DEAC (Delivering Equal Access to Care) Clinic has fulfilled two needs in Winston-Salem.

People who cannot afford high quality health care receive free exams. Medical and physician assistant students with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center receive training under the supervision of medical professionals.

Rosenda Leal heard about the clinic and decided to have some skin conditions examined. Third-year medical student Kyle McNamara and second-year medical student Deb Negus studied a red mark on her foot and a mole on her shoulder, then consulted with Dr. Thomas Ginn, a volunteer mentor to the students that evening. Ginn and the students found that neither of Leal’s conditions were dangerous.

“They are very nice and kind,” Leal said. “And I’m grateful because they spend time helping people.”

Negus said the students receive something valuable, too.

“It’s really heartening to see patients and feel like you’re having an impact,” she said. “It feels like they’re giving us more than we’re giving them.”

The DEAC Clinic  covers more than primary and preventive care, and now provides care in specialties such as dermatology and cardiology. It also offers free education classes, including smoking cessation and healthy cooking on a budget.

DEAC works with patients who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty limit. Open to residents of Forsyth, Davie and Stokes counties, there are interpreters for Spanish-speaking patients.

“We serve as a beacon of opportunity for patients and students,” said Victoria Jiang, a fourth-year medical student and the program’s outgoing executive co-director. “We don’t care if you cannot pay for it or what your immigration status is.”

“The students love DEAC. In fact, some of them chose to come to Wake Forest School of Medicine because of DEAC,” said Marlena Wosiski-Kuhn, a fourth-year medical student and the program’s incoming executive co-director.

“We’re learning skills that enhance what we get in the curriculum. For example, in DEAC, students learn and practice motivational interviewing and how to counsel patients.”

K. Patrick Ober, MD, professor of internal medicine and medical director of PA Studies, said DEAC “is a community resource for patients who might not otherwise have access to health care.”

He also said it is an opportunity for the students not just to work with patients, but with each other.

In 2015, 218 different patients were seen for regular care at DEAC and 393 student volunteers contributed more than 4,000 hours.

DEAC Clinic runs year-round on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Community Care Center on New Walkertown Road. DEAC Clinic pays rent to the Community Care Center and is completely self-supported through fundraising. DEAC also teams with Winston-Salem State University to provide screenings at a mobile clinic held for occasional special events. For more information, visit

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