South Park Inn opened its doors in 1984 in order to provide support and shelter for homeless people in Hartford’s south end and to advocate for solutions to homelessness. Three years later, in October 1987, a group of medical students from UConn’s School of Medicine opened the clinic to provide critical health care for a population in great need. Since its opening, the clinic has provided primary care, counseling and information, and health awareness classes with topics tailored to the needs of residents. Currently, the clinic is run by a group of volunteer medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students. Shelter residents receive free, confidential health care that includes the cost of medications, preventative screening for communicable diseases, and HIV and substance use counseling. South Park Inn and the attached medical center provide a safe haven for a critical population that often suffers invisibly.
Effects of homelessness
Most homeless people must overcome institutional barriers in order to rejoin mainstream society. South Park Inn Medical Clinic (SPIMC) provides an invaluable support network for Connecticut’s homeless, devoting time and attention to each patient.
The primary goal of SPIMC is to provide much needed medical care to Hartford residents while also providing students an opportunity to become familiar with the needs of the homeless population. The clinic is equipped to diagnose and treat minor medical problems and refer patients to other free, walk-in area hospitals with services customized to the homeless population. The clinic functions effectively because of the motivation and dedication of volunteer students and community physicians.
SPIMC aims to provide physical and mental health treatments to alleviate some of the major causes of homelessness and works towards enfranchising an often invisible, silent population.
UConn Pharmacy Involvement at SPIMC – Opportunities for Pharmacy Students
Pharmacy students’ work with the Medical Clinic is part of the new curriculum’s Introductory Pharmacy Practice Program (IPPE), which is designed to place students in real life situations where they have the opportunity to interact with patients, pharmacists, and other medical professionals. Working with a homeless population offers students unique opportunities for learning about tailoring patient care to specific patients’ needs. Pharmacy students, in conjunction with medical, nursing and dental students are embracing a collaborative approach to providing crucial health care services to Hartford’s homeless population. Students also learn how to provide services to a population that presents unique challenges. SPIMC provides an important venue in which students can apply and expand upon their classroom learning—this “real world” learning is what IPPE strives to foster in students.
Students preparing to work at the clinic should read South Park Clinic Preparation prior to their first assignment.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I sign up for the clinic?
The UConn Pharmacy students attend the clinics only on certain days. Please check with Mary Ann Phaneuf, assistant director for experiential education at the School of Pharmacy for specific dates and sign-up.
- Who do the clinics serve?
The South Park Clinic serves the residents of the South Park Inn comprised of the homeless population of Connecticut, specifically the Greater Hartford area.
- How do I get there and where do I park?
Please refer to the parking and directions page.
- Where do I go when I arrive?
Please go to the front desk and inform the staff of your arrival. The medical clinic is behind the front desk.
- What is the dress code for the clinic?
Since you are representing the UConn School of Pharmacy, please dress professionally.
- What drug references and resources are available for pharmacy students?
Lexi-Comp Drug Information Handbook is available and students can bring additional resources. Don’t hesitate to look up information and to ask questions.
- What should I expect at the clinic?
Students will be working with medical students and a physician as an interdisciplinary team. Together, you will assess patients and develop a plan. As the pharmacy student, you should concentrate on drug profiles and how to optimize their therapy. This is an excellent learning opportunity, please make the most of your experience.
- How long does the clinic last?
The length of the clinic depends on how many patients are seen. Clinic starts at 6:00 and usually does not run past 8:30pm.
Donations (How to Help)
We gratefully thank local (CVS, Target and Walgreens) pharmacies for their contributions and continuous donations. Without such support services, many homeless in Hartford would be left without health care and medications. For future donations, please contact the current South Park Pharmacy Student Board of Directors.
Dr. Philip Hritcko
Assistant Dean for Experiential Education & Associate Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Mary Ann Phaneuf
Assistant Director of Experiential Education
South Park Pharmacy Student Board of Directors
A unique aspect about SPIMC is that it is entirely student-run. Recently, pharmacy students began volunteering on the Board of Directors, giving them a multifaceted opportunity to interact with underserved populations, as well as assuming key leadership roles. On the Board of Directors, pharmacy students are responsible for working as part of a team to secure medications and supplies for the clinic, organize medication usage records, and create a list of must-have medications. These students are part of an interdisciplinary team that oversees the clinic, making sure it operates at the highest level.