The annual Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic (LFMC) gala fundraiser returned to an in-person event this year and raised $20,000 to help fund the student-run free clinic.
For nearly two decades, the LFMC has provided free medical and preventative care to uninsured and underinsured Buffalo residents.
Founded and operated by medical students from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the nonprofit clinic is located at Buffalo’s Community Health Center, 34 Benwood Ave.
The LFMC provides all of its services free of charge, including sick visits, dermatology and women’s health services, annual medical examinations at work or school, and sexually transmitted disease/other laboratory testing.
The supplies needed for these activities are paid for by donations.
More than 300 people attended this year’s Lighthouse Gala fundraiser on Feb. 12 at the Foundry Suites on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.
“It is heartwarming to see community members and area businesses supporting the mission of Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic,” said Allison Brashear, MD, UB Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean from the Jacobs School.
“Providing free medical services to vulnerable populations, while providing valuable educational experience for our medical students, is truly a win-win situation.
Among the basket auction items that generated the highest bids were: a medical spa donation from the Aesthetic Associates Center; a large jacuzzi package from Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More; and a $100 gift certificate from the Taste of Siam restaurant, according to Jamie Hagerty, a freshman medical student who is the new fundraising and outreach manager for the LFMC.
Live auction favorites were: a barbecue in the garden of David A. Freedman, PhD; a boat trip and lunch with Michael E. Cain, MD; and a trip to Hatchets and Hops for six with Nicolas J. Silvestri, MD; Hagerty said.
Tessa Alianell, a second-year medical student who is the outgoing fundraising and outreach manager for LFMC, says it was wonderful to be able to make the fundraiser an in-person event after the event. of 2021 was held as a virtual auction due to the covid19 pandemic.
“We are always very honored and humbled by the support the Buffalo community gives each year to the Lighthouse Clinic and the gala,” she said.
“Even despite the hardships the small business community has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received overwhelming support in terms of monetary and item donations for our event.”
“There was definitely a lot of excitement for the gala as it was an opportunity for people to come together again in person and for Buffalo businesses to show off what they have to offer to a live audience,” adds Alinell.
In addition to providing free medical services to help address health disparities in Buffalo, the Lighthouse Clinic provides valuable educational experience for medical students.
“Over the past year, I’ve learned so much in and out of the classroom here in Buffalo, but many of my most impactful lessons have been learned as a manager and volunteer at Lighthouse,” says Alianell. “After spending countless hours studying and learning, I go to the clinic on Fridays and remember why I came to medical school – to serve others.”
Alianell says medical students have the opportunity to practice hands-on skills such as drawing blood and coordinating a patient’s visit from start to finish.
“We can do all of this alongside our wonderful paramedic partners and learn first-hand how an interprofessional team delivers care to some of our most vulnerable populations,” she says.
“I’ve seen students, volunteers and counselors work together to go above and beyond to serve patients and the community – whether it’s paying for a patient’s Uber, calling in midweek to check on someone or launch a whole new initiative to meet the needs of our community – there’s always someone who goes the extra mile.
“Seeing students, doctors and allied health professionals from the local community come together and volunteer their time to provide care to our community has been such a humbling and rewarding experience,” adds Alianell.
The clinic takes appointments and walk-ins are also welcome. Each patient is screened for symptoms and exposure to COVID-19. If they test positive, they are referred outside the clinic so they can be tested and receive care in a safe environment.
Clinic hours are 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every Friday. New walk-ins are accepted until 8 p.m.