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Students at Georgia Health Sciences University help homeless with flu shots

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Jesse Shuff was holding a black bag Friday as he stood in front of a supply closet in the Physician Assistant Department at Georgia Health Sciences University.

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Physician assistant student Caroline Poirier sorts through medical supplies at GHSU's Health Science Building. Some physician assistant students have helped raise $1,260 to buy 100 flu shots to distribute to the homeless in a clinic today.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Physician assistant student Caroline Poirier sorts through medical supplies at GHSU's Health Science Building. Some physician assistant students have helped raise $1,260 to buy 100 flu shots to distribute to the homeless in a clinic today.

“Anything else we can throw in here?” he asked the other first-year physician assistant students picking through medical supplies. Concerned about the availability of flu shots for Augusta’s homeless, the physician assistant students dug out $1,260 to buy 100 shots for the homeless that they will distribute in a clinic today. Part of it came from money left to them by a previous class and some comes from their own fundraisers.

“It’s funny because you feel a little silly as a graduate student out washing cars,” said Jennifer Chapman, the student director of the Christ Church Health Clinic that the class puts on each month. “But it is fun and we had a great time and we raised over $250.”

Flu shots are offered all over town but cost $20-$30, Shuff said.

“For some people, that’s a lot of money,” he said.

“They don’t have money to fill prescriptions; they don’t have money for clothes; they don’t have money for food,” Chapman said. “So the last thing they are going to do is spend money on a flu shot.”

The students already run the monthly clinic in conjunction with Christ Episcopal Church, but the clinic today allows them to team up with Mercy Ministries, which will give away coats in addition to other services. The shots could be an important preventive measure for the homeless, said class President Elizabeth Prince-Coleman.

Helping out the homeless and those in need is something the students hope to do after they begin their practices, said student Caroline Poirier.

“Hopefully, taking the things that we are learning here into our futures with us,” she said. “And maybe helping to start something elsewhere or joining something that is already there.”

ABOUT THE CLINIC

Students from the Physician Assistant Department at Georgia Health Sciences University will offer 100 free flu shots and health screenings today from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a clinic at Mercy Center, 1621 15th St. Mercy Ministries will give out more than 100 coats. The GHSU Ryan White Outreach Team will offer free HIV screening, and Harrisburg Family Healthcare will provide information.

The physician assistant students at Georgia Health Sciences University also hold a monthly clinic called Christ Church Health Clinic in conjunction with Christ Episcopal Church, 1904 Greene St. To learn more about its services or to donate money or supplies, go to: http://christchurchhealthclinic.org/.

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Will
75
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Will 12/02/11 - 10:42 pm
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0
Y'all need to stooooooop
Unpublished

Y'all need to stooooooop iiiiiiiiit! They'll never do for themselves as long as you people keep doing for them. Tough love, people!

charliemanson
1
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charliemanson 12/03/11 - 07:35 am
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0
Giving them a flu shot is

Giving them a flu shot is cheaper than having the taxpayers paying their hospital bill.

augustapoz
2
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augustapoz 12/03/11 - 08:54 am
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I think the real heart of

I think the real heart of this story is that students are doing what they can to help. Sounds like they are doing it without being asked. I am sure that the folks that sit around and look for nothing but negative things they can say about everything that appears in the newspaper will find a problem with my comment. I don't care. I do care that instead of sitting on their duffs, young people are trying to make a difference! Great job!!!

JosephC
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JosephC 12/06/11 - 06:49 am
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I just wanted to say that I

I just wanted to say that I am very proud of the PA class of 2013. With a school program that requires you to be 100% selfish of your time so that you can survive, you guys are making time to open new clinics and completely revamp all volunteer activities done in the past. It upsets me to see a negative light placed on the article. I feel as though this skews the real meaning of what you guys have done. As medical providers you guys are doing kind acts for others without seeking rewards for your actions. This is altruism at its best. Not to mention that the homeless are a population of people where preventative medicine is a must. Congrats guys on all you have accomplished. I am looking forward to seeing what else you all do in the future!

jfblake
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jfblake 03/02/12 - 09:35 am
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Awesome initiative, kudos to

Awesome initiative, kudos to those PA students.

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