Jefferson Award winner helps thousands through free medical clin - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Jefferson Award winner helps thousands through free medical clinics

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A number of clinics in Madison offer free services for people who don't have insurance or can't afford healthcare.

They all exist because of one man, Octobers Jefferson Award Winner.

In the 1960's, as a young professor, Dr. Ted Goodfriend began a clinic for migrant workers in Wautoma.

It was so successful, the state took it over.

Then, in 1990, a group of his medical students at UW-Madison wanted to do something similar to help.

"They're really tired of doing nothing but science and sitting in a lecture hall," says Dr. Goodfriend. "Isn't there something they could do with patients?"

He knew just the answer.

A homeless shelter at Grace Episcopal Church was full of men who had no access to healthcare.

Dr. Goodfriend started a free clinic there run by student volunteers.

"They were all eager to help," he says.

And so, the program MEDiC was born at the university.

"Half of the class volunteered. We didn't have enough evening sessions to accommodate them all."

That's why he launched a second clinic at the Salvation Army for women and families.

"If you do just a little bit, you're doing infinitely more than the patient would have without you, because they would have nothing without you," says Dr. Goodfriend.

That idea has inspired thousands of students, who pushed to expand the MEDiC program under Dr. Goodfriend.

He appointed Dr. Don Schalch as medical director.

"He has left an indelible imprint on hundreds, if not thousands of physicians in training and physicians and of course to the patients," says Dr. Schalch.

There are now seven specialized clinics in Madison, giving free service to 2,000 patients a year.

"There's a Safe Haven clinic Dr. Diamond ran for psychiatric patients, there's a south Madison clinic for largely Hispanic under insured, there's a dental clinic," says Dr. Goodfriend. "There's a dermatology clinic and then other schools came into the picture, the nursing school the school of physical therapy, the physician's assistants school, the pharmacy school."

And in June, a pediatric clinic opened.

Dr. Schalch says Dr. Goodfriend is "a true inspiration of what one person can do to give back to our society."

Patients can get free medicine at the clinics.

If they need more specialized care they're referred to other facilities.

You can learn more about MEDiC by clicking here

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