Joseph Phaneuf, MD
Ashland Free Medical Clinic
“Providing medical care for free brings me back to the roots of why I went into medicine in the first place, which is to help people. Through my volunteer experiences, I’ve developed more humility, gratitude and joy in my regular practice.”
In the course of making 18 trips in 10 years to provide medical services at a free clinic in Southern India, Dr. Phaneuf decided that he wanted to establish a similar clinic for people in need in Alameda County.
His dream became reality when the Ashland Free Medical Clinic opened in January 2005 on the campus of San Lorenzo High School, in a space used by Clinica De La Raza during the week to provide care for the students. The Ashland Free Medical Clinic is open Saturday mornings to care for adults in the Ashland and Cherryland communities who do not qualify for insurance and cannot afford medical care.
With funding from local government grants, Kaiser Permanente, Eden Medical Center, foundations and private donors, and the involvement of more than 100 volunteers, the clinic served more than 400 patients with 1500 patient visits in its first two years. It offers adult primary care, urgent care, dermatology services, and diabetic retinopathy screening, as well as free medications and laboratory services. A 100% volunteer effort, it draws on a pool of 25 physicians and nurse practitioners, most from TPMG, and other volunteers who serve as nurses, medical assistants, phlebotomists, receptionists, and Spanish interpreters.
“I’ve been gratified that so many people, both in Kaiser Permanente and the community, have volunteered without even being asked,” notes Dr. Phaneuf. In 2007, he hopes to expand the clinic’s services to offer ophthalmology, podiatry, and gastroenterology services.