Contact: Dr. Mary Kollar
UTK College of Nursing’s faculty members, students, and graduates have been involved with providing primary care to the homeless in Knoxville. The Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) was established in 1987 by concerned individuals and churches from the downtown area to provide services to the homeless, and linked with UTK College of Nursing to begin the People’s Clinic in 2000. The clinic has grown over the years and other community agencies, volunteers, and colleges have become involved. Some of the services that the clinic provides are dental, behavioral mental health, and social services, women’s health care, foot care clinic in addition to primary health care. Outreach services such as flu shots, blood pressures, blood sugars, and basic first aid are also provided (under the bridge) on Wednesday evenings. Up until recently, most of these services were provided by volunteers, including many UT nursing students and faculty.
In January 2009, VMC signed a lease with Cherokee Health Systems (CHS) allowing Cherokee to provide a full time medical and mental health clinic within their new VMC building. Volunteers are highly utilized but this partnership with CHS has allowed the clinic to offer more clinic days, services, and medications then previously.
Graduate nurse practitioner students provide services to the homeless with UTK faculty members (Dava Shoffner, Peggy Pierce, and Mary Kollar) serving as their preceptors. The students learn how to advocate for a population that has multiple needs and to use available community resources to meet those needs.