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Fundraising efforts bolster Shade Tree Clinic

May. 23, 2013, 8:33 AM

It has been a successful spring in terms of fundraising and grant support for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s student-run Shade Tree Clinic.

Nearly $100,000 has been raised for Shade Tree, which serves more than 400 uninsured East Nashville residents. The clinic provides high quality primary care through student and interdisciplinary health care professional volunteers at an annual cost of about $140,000.

Shade Tree Trot organizers Stessie Dort and Shyam Deshpande, both rising third-year medical students, said 700 participants registered for the 5K fun-run/walk on April 20. They said not only was it one of the largest Trots to date, but new elements this year helped boost the fundraising total to $42,000.

Fundraising events help the Shade Tree Clinic to, among other efforts, provide free flu vaccines to members of Nashville’s homeless community. (photo by Joe Howell)

“This year we had the incredible support of a first-time corporate sponsor, AT&T, which also had two employee teams that raised $2,000 in addition to sponsorship funds. And Jana Bregman, a committee member, led a team of students and faculty supporters to organize a dinner and auction that nearly doubled the amount the Trot raised,” Deshpande said.

The dinner and auction on April 18, at Valentino’s restaurant, also served to recognize Vanderbilt community physicians Jule West, M.D., and Morgan McDonald, M.D., for their service at the United Neighborhood Health Services (UNHS) Downtown Clinic for the homeless.

In addition, a recently awarded $55,000 Baptist Healing Trust grant will help fund the operational needs of the clinic. Rising second-year students Nick Harris and Taylor Triana serve as co-executive directors of the Shade Tree Clinic for the coming year. They say the Baptist Healing Trust grant and the fundraising from the Shade Tree Trot will go a long way.

“Each year we try to expand and improve the services that we offer our patients. The funds raised from the Shade Tree Trot will help support the development of new programs that will provide retinal screenings for patients with diabetes, reduced cost or free dental care through the Meharry-Vanderbilt Dental School Alliance and pharmacy education programs,” Triana said.

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