Last year, when he was a first-year medical student at Upstate and volunteering at the Amaus health clinic downtown, Raju Chelluri saw a need — and figured out how to fill it.
Raju observed that some patients who came into Amaus, a free walk-in clinic for the uninsured with limited access to health care, needed routine physical exams so they could get back to work.
With a steady supply of Upstate medical students who volunteer at Amaus, Raju figured the students could help conduct the exams.
“It’s good to work on our clinical skills,” Raju said. “It’s all about learning, talking and listening to patients.”
Raju enlisted the help of Jane Hudson, MD, a physician who volunteers at Amaus, and they submitted a (winning) grant proposal to Upstate’s Center for Civic Engagement.
The back-to-work physicals began in January, with Raju and other students taking patients’ medical histories, checking blood pressure, lung function and other elements of a routine exam. A physician then meets with the patient and reviews the information before signing off.
The $1,000 Roosevelt Fund Award helps pay for expanded clinic hours, medical equipment and vaccines for the physicals.
In his grant application Raju wrote that providing employment physicals serves a dual purpose – getting people back into the workforce while saving them the cost of a physical.
“In such difficult economic times, any service that can help people gain employment is a useful endeavor, and we hope to help boost the local economy,” Raju said.
Raju is now a second-year medical student and president of the Amaus club at Upstate.
The Center for Civic Engagement awarded a second $1,000 Roosevelt grant to a group of Upstate medical students who spent spring break in New Orleans, helping to rebuild a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to offer these awards,” said Susan Stearns, PhD, director of the Center for Civic Engagement.