June 20, 2018 | Manny V. Martinez Julien Mahler, NVC Alumnus, speaks during the Student Run Clinic opening ceremony at Proyecto Desarrollo Humano in Penitas, Texas. – UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy The Rio Grande Valley of deep south Texas is considered by many reporting agencies to be among the most uninsured regions in the nation. Recently, NVC Alumnus, Julien Mahler, Class of 2012, along with a cohort of fellow medical students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, spearheaded efforts to open the first student-run clinic in the region. Located at Proyecto Desarrollo Humano in Penitas, Texas, the clinic aims to serve residents of nearby underserved colonias. According to UTRGV SOM, offered services will include free primary healthcare assistance such as screening for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, general physical/health and wellness visits, vaccinations and medications as well as minor injury care. Julien described how the group worked in unison to structure the project, secure a location, and create a five-member board, to which he was elected an inaugural member. Additionally, he says the team gained experience in learning how to create sustainable funding models and build community partnerships. “What’s special about the student-run clinic is that not only does it bring student doctors and community members together, but it also gives us an opportunity to help families and community members understand the challenges of navigating the complex healthcare system,” he said in a press release issued by UTRGV. “We can bring community members and faculty together to teach students that the health of the patients extends beyond the clinic and into the communities where people live. We can train the next generation of physicians to be advocates,” he added. Under the supervision of clinical faculty, medical students will operate the clinic once a month with patients currently being seen by appointment. You can watch Julien’s speech at the Grand Opening ceremony here. or read an article published in The Monitor newspaper here.