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Future Doctors Get Hands-On Education At Special Clinic

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CHAPEL HILL — A simple visit to the doctor can end up wiping out your wallet, but there is a unique clinic in Carrboro where they can fix what ails you for free.

Maurice McClain is getting a physical so he can play sports in school. His mother, Phyllis, is not paying a dime.

"I think it's a pretty neat thing. It gives them experience, and it helps the community," she says.

Maurice's family doctor did not have any appointments available so his mother brought him to theStudent Health Action Coalition(SHAC) clinic.

"We are not an emergency room. We don't do any stitching here or setting of bones," says student volunteer John Morehead. "It's medical students, nursing students, physical therapy students, social work students, even dental students."

Patients pack into the waiting room every Wednesday night. It is a place where they can come for just about anything they would normally see a family doctor for. SHAC is totally run by UNC students.

SHAC is the oldest student-run clinic in the country. UNC has been operating it for 30 years. Every year, they have close to 400 student volunteers.

Along with seeing patients, the students also learn the administrative side of running a clinic. They get hands-on experience they may not get in a classroom.

"It's also very inspiring in terms of seeing patients and remembering why you came to medical school in the first place," says student volunteer Laura Thomas.

There is always a licensed professional on site. There are no income or insurance restrictions. Anyone can go to the SHAC clinic. It opens at 6 p.m. every Wednesday night at the Carboro Community Health Center.

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Julia Lewis, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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