Happy Feet Clinic unites UCLA undergraduates and medical students from the PRIME program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to provide some comfort to the homeless one foot at a time.
The staff at Happy Feet set up podiatry clinics at multiple sites in Los Angeles, including Union Rescue Mission in downtown L.A., Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica and New Image Emergency Shelter in South L.A.
Visitors who attend the day-long clinic get a foot wash in a tub of warm, soapy water, followed by a foot exam. Students work alongside faculty mentors to check for everything from fungal infections to diabetes. Some foot ailments are remedied immediately and often simple services prevent major foot problems such as leg amputations. A medical "education station" provides fresh socks, shoes and other essential foot care products.
The program was started in 2008 by 17 PRIME students who wanted to create a community-based initiative that would address a real need and add to the existing network of resources and services. To keep the program sustainable, UCLA undergrads were recruited and given the opportunity to continually improve and host foot clinics for L.A.'s homeless.
PRIME is a five-year, dual-degree program focused on developing leaders in medicine who will address health policy, care and research for the underserved. Students identify with one of three programs at UCLA-Westwood, UCLA-UC Riverside or UCLA-Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, earning a medical degree with a master's degree in a related field.
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