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Washington State University
CAS Connect April 2014

Young alumna leads clinic launch

A recent CAS graduate currently working at WSU spearheaded the opening of a free health clinic in Pullman this month.

Namita Crow (’13 basic medical sciences) determined as a teen to be aware of, and involved with, people and happenings around her.

After being adopted at age 10 from India with her sister, she was raised by a loving, single mother in a Christian home in Portland, OR. Now 24 and a veteran of medical mission trips and other outreach efforts, she plans to enter medical school after assisting health professionals in Uganda next year.

“I want to be a physician,” she said. “I like science but I don’t want to spend my life in a lab. I want to know how I can treat people’s needs, give them a healthy life and provide health-care education.

“Perhaps it’s because of my religious beliefs,” she said, “but I really feel my whole reason to be here, to be alive, is to love other people.”

Student learning opportunities

The new Palouse Free Clinic opened its doors April 8 in Suite 130 of the Pullman Regional Hospital. Walk-in patients were served by a team of volunteers including a physician, a nurse, first-year medical students, WSU undergraduates and Crow.

Crow, right, with other clinic volunteers. Photo by Robert Hubner, WSU Photo Services
Crow, right, with other clinic volunteers. Photo by Robert Hubner, WSU Photo Services

“As a group, we intend to help meet the health needs of people in Whitman County,” she said. “Ours is the only free clinic in the immediate area, and anyone who is otherwise not able to have access to healthcare is welcome. There are no requirements.”

With plans to be open 6-8 p.m. every Tuesday, the clinic operates in donated space from the hospital. Professionals in the medical field will volunteer to staff the operation with support from many WSU pre-health undergraduate students as well as first-year medical students.

Community service, partnership

“In addition to the help the clinic will bring to people seeking healthcare, I am so pleased personally that the project is also creating a sort of partnership of the community, the college, and its students,” Crow said.

She conceived of the idea while still an undergraduate. “On the surface some may not think there is a need for the free medical clinic. But there is,” she said.

The clinic coordinates on medications with Sid’s Pharmacy in Pullman, and is incorporated under the Community Action Center, a local social service organization.

Crow also works as a program assistant at the WSU Office of Multicultural Student Services. She is volunteering as the communications and marketing director for the clinic before she departs for Uganda this coming winter.

“Doing those tasks will help me be an effective communicator as I master a completely different aspect of the operation of a business,” she said. “The experience will prepare me for when I need to promote my own medical practice years from now.”

Crow’s interest in healthcare grew after she learned about the impact of AIDS on people’s lives in Africa. In Portland, she worked as a volunteer at a multi-church-sponsored Compassion Clinic offering free health care to the community. During a mission trip in the Philippines, she met children who were suffering with severe infections.

As a basic medical sciences student and leader in the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) club at WSU, Crow has worked with other students in various health fairs in Pullman.