VIM Story

Volunteers in Medicine Built by Communities

Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) began in Hilton Head, South Carolina. In 1992, one out of three people who lived in Hilton Head Island had no access to health care. At the same time, a number of retired medical personnel (physicians, nurses, dentists) began expressing an interest in finding a way to continue practicing their profession on a voluntary, part-time basis to help those without access to care.

In 1994, these two groups were brought together to create the first Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, a 501(c)(3) free clinic utilizing retired health care professionals.

The response from the medical community was extraordinary: today over 200 medical professionals volunteer at the clnic. They tell us this is what they always wanted to do: to be able to practice their profession in a “hassle-free” environment.

Presently in the U.S., there are over 250,000 retired physicians; 350,000 nurses; and 40,000 dentists. Most are looking for a meaningful way to spend their retirement. Not only do many retired medical professionals still want to practice, they need to practice. Serving those in need is as therapeutic for the caregiver as it is for the care recipient.

The VIM model emphasizes the use of retired medical professionals to provide quality health care services in free clinics which focus on serving the needs of the working uninsured. Many of these community-integrated ,owned and supported clinics also utilize practicing physicians to volunteer.

Now every person who lives or works on Hilton Head Island has easy access to health care. And the best part is that it was accomplished using an untapped resource, the retired medical professional.

To learn more about Volunteers in Medicine go to: www.volunteersinmedicine.org

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