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Clinic Finds New Home

Clinic Finds New HomeTufts' Sharewood Project -- which provides free medical care to Boston-area residents -- recently reopened its doors at its new home in Malden, Massachusetts. Malden, Massachusetts.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.10.02] Almost 40 years after Tufts opened the nation's first community health clinic, the University is continuing its tradition of providing quality health care to those who need it most. Though recently re-located to a new home in Malden, Massachusetts, Tufts' Sharewood Project still offers medical care to low income patients, while providing medical students with a hands-on learning environment.

"The clinic offers free health care and the [Tufts School of Medicine students who work at the clinic] get a lot of opportunities to see patients and learn a lot through physical exam type of procedures," first-year medical student Audrey Wen told the Malden Observer. "It's also a gateway project for the people that see us to get into more of a regular primary care doctor pattern."

Originally opened in Boston's Chinatown in 1997, Sharewood moved to Malden this winter, after the project wasn't able to keep its original clinic space. While in a new location, Sharewood continues to provide care to its long-time patients.

"With the new location just a short ride on the orange line from Chinatown and the availability of translators, the Sharewood Clinic has retained a good number of the Mandarin and Cantonese speaking Chinese patients from Boston," reported the Observer.

And now Malden-area residents are also taking advantage of Sharewood's services.

"Sharewood has seen a large number of low-income and homeless Malden residents," reported the newspaper. "Some visit Sharewood after attending the Bread of Life soup kitchen dinner at the Washington Street Church on Tuesday nights. On a given Tuesday evening, the number of patients could range anywhere from four to 15, with two to three residents or attending physicians providing care."

For medical students like Tufts' Wen, the clinic offers valuable opportunities for hands-on learning.

"For the first couple of years at medical school, you sit in lecture halls and learn and memorize things without a whole lot of patient contact," Wen told the Observer. "It's a great way to learn to talk with the patients and make them comfortable, and learn from the attending physicians. The students are so passionate about helping these people, and it's nice to be with a bunch of hard-working people."

Through the clinic, Sharewood's patients have access to a wide-range of services.

"Sharewood provides urgent care for common illnesses, such as the common cold, hypertension and diabetes," reported the newspaper. "The clinic also offers anonymous HIV testing, Hepatitis B vaccinations, free samples of medication and prescriptions, and a limited range of dental care."

Dedicated to the project and their patients, Sharewood's team of doctors and students provide top-quality care.

"The students are some of the highest caliber in the nation," Andy Koutras -- and attending physician at Sharewood -- told the Observer. "Not only are they smart, but they're so enthusiastic and compassionate about the welfare of their patients. They take a lot more time with patients than they would typically get at a doctor's office setting."

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