Tyler Southwell (Class of 2008) held a meeting with Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM) students to propose the idea of establishing a student-run Free Clinic. From this meeting emerged a core group of students, led by Dorothy Gotlib and Robert McWhirther (both class of 2011), who guided the SRFC initiative.
Through this initiative, we established mutual relationships with local community organizations, most notably, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, from which the clinic receives its patients, and Mercy Primary Care, which donates its facilities.
In 2009, the baton was passed to Yara Fardous and Berkin Ulgen (both class of 2012), under whose leadership the school administration’s support was consolidated and formally defined with legal relationships between WSUSOM and Mercy Primary Care. The student volunteers were mentored by WSU family medicine department faculty member Juliann Binienda, Ph.D., who accompanied students annually to SRFC conferences and Thomas Roe, M.D., who served as the first faculty advisor. That year, the student governing body officially recognized the SRFC as the Robert R. Frank Student Run Free Clinic, in honor of the WSUSOM dean known for his commitment to the underserved. These efforts culminated in the grand opening of the clinic in the summer of 2010. Today, the Robert R. Frank Student Run Free Clinic continues its commitment to serving Detroit’s uninsured and underserved population.