Friday After Clinic returns for its sixth year to support the Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic

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Friday After Clinic

UI College of Public Health, 145 N Riverside Drive — Friday, April 26 at 5:30 p.m.

The Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic, Apr. 17, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Just as people with medical needs have relied on the Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic since 1971, the clinic has relied on the Iowa City community for support. On Friday, the Free Clinic will be holding its sixth annual Friday After Clinic fundraiser at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

“We hold the event for a couple of reasons. One is to thank our many volunteers and supporters in the community. It’s an opportunity to get together people who support the clinic, to be able to thank them personally,” Barbara Vinograde, the executive director of the clinic, told Little Village. “And it’s also an opportunity for new people to come in who want to learn more about the Free Clinic.”

“It’s a free-will donation event, so people contribute as they can, but everyone who comes in will get a sweepstakes ticket, and will also be able to enjoy catered, delicious food from Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fire Pizza.”

There will also be live music by the New Found Five, a band led, appropriately enough, by a local otolaryngologist. (That’s the formal name for an ear, nose and throat doctor, for those who’ve been healthy from the shoulders up.)

This year’s event will highlight new additions to the Free Clinic.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of how much we’ve grown over the last 48 years,” Vinograde said. “In the early days, the clinic mainly saw patients for acute health problems. Some sort of immediate problems. Over the years more and more people were coming to the clinic, not only in need of treatment for acute problems, but also with chronic conditions.”

As more and more people came to think of the Free Clinic as their “medical home,” it began offering more chronic disease management, as well as preventative services, Vinograde explained.

In the 1990s, the clinic began to offer dental services in response to community needs. The clinic now has two dental exams rooms, and pool of 10 volunteer dentists who treat patients.

“We also provide other specialty services,” Vinograde said. “We have a gynecological service, dermatology, ophthalmology, chiropractic [among other services].”

Partnerships with other health care providers are very important to the Free Clinic, Vinograde said. For example, thanks to an expansion of its partnership with the family medicine practice of the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, this year the Free Clinic was able to host weekly pre- and post-natal clinics.

The Free Clinic saw a 4 percent increase in the number of patients last year, according to Vinograde. The clinic treated 1,715 people in 2018.

Friday After Clinic is a way to raise awareness of the Free Clinic and its many services, as well as raise funds to support those services.

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“It’s a relaxed evening,” Vinograde said. “People hang out, talk to each other, they can ask questions of board members and staff. This year, we’ll have for sale artwork by some of our volunteers.”

The two-hour event at the College of Public Health (145 N Riverside Dr) starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

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