Alumna/employee leads effort to launch free health clinic

By Beverly Makhani, Office of Undergraduate Education

Crow-80PULLMAN, Wash. – A Washington State University alumna and employee spearheaded the opening of a free health clinic in Pullman this month.

Namita Crow (’13 basic medical sciences) was adopted at 10 from India with her sister. Raised by a loving single mother in a Christian home, she determined as a teen to be aware of, and involved with, people and happenings around her.

A veteran of medical mission trips and outreach efforts, she plans to enter medical school after assisting a physician in Uganda next year.

“I want to be a physician,” she said. “I like science but I don’t want to spend my life in a lab. I want to know how I can treat people’s needs, give them a healthy life and provide health-care education.

“Perhaps it’s because of my religious beliefs,” she said, “but I really feel my whole reason to be here, to be alive, is to love other people.”

Student learning opportunities

The new Palouse Free Clinic opened its doors April 8 in Suite 130 of the Pullman Regional Hospital (PRH). Walk-in patients were served by a team of volunteers including a physician, a nurse, first-year medical students, WSU undergraduates and Crow.

Crow, right, with other clinic volunteers. (Photo by Robert Hubner, WSU Photo Services)

“As a group, we intend to help meet the health needs of people in Whitman County,” she said. “Ours is the only free clinic in the immediate area, and anyone who is otherwise not able to have access to healthcare is welcome. There are no requirements.”

With plans to be open 6-8 p.m. every Tuesday, the clinic operates in donated space from the hospital. Professionals in the medical field will volunteer to staff the operation with support from many WSU pre-health undergraduate students as well as first-year medical students.

Community service, partnership

“In addition to the help the clinic will bring to people seeking health care, I am so pleased personally that the project is also creating a sort of partnership of the community, the college and its students,” Crow said.

The clinic coordinates with Sid’s Pharmacy on medications and is incorporated under the local social service organization, Community Action Center.

Crow works as a program assistant at the WSU Office of Multicultural Student Services. She is volunteering as the communications and marketing director for the clinic before departing for Uganda in the winter.

“Doing those tasks will help me be an effective communicator as I master a completely different aspect of the operation of a business,” she said. “The experience will prepare me for when I need to promote my own medical practice years from now.”