The Fremont Rural Health Clinic is a free health clinic held on the third Saturday of every month in Fremont, NC, a town of approximately 1500 about 1.5 hours from Durham. We offer basic health services, including vaccinations, chronic condition management, acute care visits, and referrals to other medical centers. The physical clinic is funded by the town of Fremont and managed by the Fremont Rural Health Coalition, and Duke provides the necessary supplies as well as medical students to provide the care under the supervision of Dr. Jeffery Margolis (board certified in Internal Medicine) of the Goshen Medical Center.
Students wishing to attend simply sign up a week in advance, and can go as often as they wish (if space permits). Transportation to Fremont is provided; including travel time, it is generally an eight hour commitment. Generally 1-2 third year students go each month, with 3-4 first year students. For first year students, it is an invaluable chance to experience primary care, learning physical examination skills, and to learn to present as well as document patient encounters. Third year students get the opportunity to hone their skills and solidify their knowledge of common medical problems. All care is student-provided, and pace of the clinic (generally significantly slower than those at Duke, with an average of 10 patients seen per session) allows time to get thorough histories and physical examinations as well as performing a full formal presentation – luxuries which are not always possible in the often overwhelming Duke hospitals and clinics. Moreover, Dr. Margolis is always excited to provide a mini-lecture on any topic requested, or demonstrate and teach physical examination skills. The patient base provides a non-stop education in chronic health conditions, barriers to care, as well as the interpretation of really thick North Carolina accents and localisms like goody powders and “falling out” (key in the wards during clinical years). Even for those with no interest in primary care, the learning opportunities can help make students shine during their clinical years.
Any third year student can apply to join the board of the clinic, and through this experience they get to learn some of the more practical sides to medicine – how to keep a clinic afloat on a minimal budget, what the real costs are of the seemingly simple tests we run, how to recruit and retain patients, and so on. Students also get the chance to continue building the strong relationship formed between Duke Medicine and the people of Fremont, NC over the past 20 years. Come see what we can offer you!