The Program for Health Care to Underserved Populations (PHCUP) was established in 1994 and has served as a safety net for vulnerable members of the Pittsburgh community who are in need of health care but lack economic resources and appropriate access. The mission of the program is to coordinate and facilitate the provision of free health care to identified population groups typically excluded from traditional primary health care. The program has been a pioneer in the genesis of unique service-learning opportunities for medical students, pharmacy students, and medical residents from the University of Pittsburgh. The PHCUP provides a unique opportunity for residents to work with community and government agencies whose goal is to meet the social and medical needs of the underserved. It allows the residents to gain experience with the direct care and complex needs of medically disenfranchised individuals in the urban communities of Pittsburgh. Staff physicians and pharmacists provide nearly 1,800 hours of volunteer service and over 1,500 hours of teaching and precepting time annually.
The PHCUP serves homeless, uninsured, and disenfranchised Pittsburghers through four clinics that provide approximately 3,000 primary care visits and fill about 4,500 on-site prescriptions free of charge per year. Each clinic is partnered with a community social service agency, and each has an exclusively volunteer team of physicians, pharmacists, and University of Pittsburgh residents and medical students who provide holistic acute and chronic care with a multidisciplinary approach. Interns participate in the program as part of their ambulatory block rotation, and residents can continue on a voluntary basis. For instance, at the program's Birmingham Free Clinic, which serves clients from the South Side Salvation Army residential programs and from the general public, residents voluntarily staff the Saturday clinic sessions.
Basic primary care services provided include the following:
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