March 26, 2010

Shade Tree Trot set to raise funds for student-run clinic

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VUSM students Caroline Lai and Derrick Christopher lead the way at the start of last year’s Shade Tree Trot on the Vanderbilt campus. (Photo by Michael Pilla)

Shade Tree Trot set to raise funds for student-run clinic

The Shade Tree Family Clinic is a labor of love for the students of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Now, students are asking others to help support the clinic by signing up for the Shade Tree Trot, the health care clinic's major annual fund raising event.

The Trot takes place Saturday, May 1, and is a 5K race through the beautiful Vanderbilt University campus.

The race culminates yearly fundraising efforts to provide financial support for Shade Tree's growing operating expenses and aims to raise awareness of the clinic throughout the community.

At Shade Tree, donations keep critical health care services available for uninsured or under insured people in East Nasvhille. Medical students manage and staff the clinic as volunteers.

Students from other disciplines, like nursing, social work and pharmacy, also lend their time, as do Vanderbilt faculty members.

Since 2005, Shade Tree has held clinic Tuesday evenings and Saturdays in a double-wide trailer used during the day by the United Neighborhood Health Services (UNHS) Northeast Family Clinic.

Despite the volunteer base and donated space, Shade Tree is an expensive operation to run, costing more than $130,000 to provide basic supplies and services like lab tests, medications and health information given to patients for free.

Students hope the clinic and its services will continue to grow.

“Funding from the Trot also supports programs in the surrounding neighborhood like the VEGI community garden, STRIDE diabetes education, and STEPP prenatal care programs,” said third-year VUSM student Shane Magee.

“We support a neighborhood youth football league and have even paid for membership in Weight Watchers for interested community members. As Shade Tree expands, we'd like to maintain our current standard of care in both the clinic and community outreach while improving upon it and adding more services,” Magee said.

To learn more, register for the Shade Tree Trot, or to donate, go to