Community Clinic Provides Free Services for Underserved Populations

The Community Clinic at UCSF’s PhysFit Health and Wellness Center opened its doors September 2021. Second- and third-year DPT students, along with faculty clinicians, provide free physical therapy services to uninsured and underinsured patients with the goal of improving the health and quality of life of underserved populations in the Bay Area. The students hope that one day, anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, will have access to high-quality physical therapy services.

“The development of this clinic has been in the works for a very long time,” said Salma Hassan, a DPT student. “I decided to get involved because I’m interested in

We aspire to break down the barriers to health equity by promoting access to care, health literacy and meeting other social needs that are the root causes of health disparities.

Theresa Jaramillo, PT, DPT, MS

Vice Chair of Eduation, UCSF Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

helping out the community, especially underrepresented populations.”

Many patients are immigrants or refugees and may not have access to health insurance. “Getting health care services is very difficult for them, so this a great opportunity for those patients to get care that’s desperately needed,” Hassan said.

“This clinic is a great example of collaboration between the faculty and students to provide excellent care to underinsured and uninsured patients,” said Assistant Professor and Clinical Supervisor Heather Bhide, PT, DPT, NCS. “I have been amazed at the professionalism of the students and the comprehensive, empathetic care that they are providing to these patients.”

The number of patients seen doubled in 2022, from 6 to 8 patients per day to approximately 15. The clinic also has increased access for patients reporting neurological issues, up to 40% of patients from only 10% at the clinic’s opening, increasing access to therapeutic services.

According to clinical supervisor Heather Bhide, “Our goal is to provide equitable access to patients with a host of challenges, and we want to give students increased exposure to people with more complex movement issues which helps them incorporate more effective treatments and interventions for patients with neurological diagnoses.”

If you would like to support the clinic, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. The clinic is completely volunteer run, and donations help keep it open by paying for operational supplies, as well as buying equipment for patient home use (such as walkers, canes and exercise equipment).

Give to the Physical Therapy Community Clinic