San Antonio Refugee Health Clinic Filling A Large Gap

The largest student-run clinic reaching out to refugees is in San Antonio.

By Wendy RigbyNovember 28, 2016 9:30 am, ,

From Texas Public Radio

The medical, dental and nursing schools at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio have teamed up to operate the only student-run refugee clinic in the country.

Each Wednesday, at St. Francis Episcopal Church on the city’s North Side, dozens of refugees from all over the world come for free care at the Refugee Health Clinic. People from the Middle East, southern Africa and Asia.

They have fled violence and persecution. An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 refugees live within three miles of San Antonio’s Medical Center. Most who  resettle here receive temporary federal government health benefits that run out after six months or so. Then what?

“So, we really, really fill that gap before they can kind of get on their feet after they’ve lost their government benefits,” explained Michael Tcheyan, a medical student. He said he is disappointed Texas has pulled out of the refugee program over safety concerns.

“Politics is what it is. But as doctors, as people who can bear witness to people who are suffering, we feel like it’s our duty and it’s their right to get medical care and to be connected with services that are going to make their life better,” Tcheyan added. “They’re fleeing from persecution. A lot of them have been living in refugee camps overseas for many years before coming here. They’re here to start a new life.”

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