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MedZou Free Clinic Founders Among 100 School of Medicine Graduates

Top national security medical adviser and alumnus delivers commencement address

For David Atashroo and his fellow medical students at the University of Missouri, their idea to create a free clinic to serve the uninsured in Boone County began with constructive impatience: The students didn't want to wait until they were physicians to feel like they were making a difference in patients' lives. Now the students, the original founders of the MedZou free clinic in Columbia, are among the 100 medical students who became physicians during a commencement ceremony on May 15, 2010, in Jesse Auditorium.

"In medical school, you need to be good at more than just studying, learning the science and earning the grades. You need to believe you can help people in a meaningful way," Atashroo said. "Helping start MedZou made me feel even more connected to the people I'll serve and the profession I'm entering."

Atashroo and his classmates developed the idea for MedZou four years ago during their first year of medical school. Since the free clinic opened in October 2008, more than 350 volunteer students and health care professionals have provided care for more than 300 patients. In April 2009, MedZou was recognized as the University of Missouri's best new organization and received a Chancellor's Excellence Award. During the 2009-2010 school year, 96 percent of the medical school's Class of 2013 volunteered at the clinic. Apart from its regular schedule of meeting a variety of patient needs every Thursday night, MedZou now offers specialty care clinics in areas such as dermatology, pulmonology and rheumatology.

"It was a pleasure to help the MedZou founders leave a legacy for our community and MU that will support patient care and education for years to come," said Linda Headrick, MD, senior associate dean for education and faculty development. "Many other students will continue to follow their example by serving the uninsured and, at the same time, gaining valuable experience in how to care for patients."

The MedZou student founders and other Class of 2010 members received medical degrees at commencement from Robert Churchill, MD, Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean. University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee delivered a special welcome. The commencement address was delivered by Alexander Garza, MD, a 1996 MU medical school graduate who is assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
MU Health Magazine


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