Tuesday Sept. 28, 2010 | The Free Clinic Movement

September 27, 2010 at 10:19 am | Posted in Coming Up | 10 Comments


Today, we’ll talk about the advent of the free clinic movement back in the 60s and meet with one of the doctors who started the movement in California. The idea of free clinics for people who have no access to meaningful health care has only risen in the past few decades. We’ll talk about how this movement continues to thrive across the country and right here in the Charlotte region.

Dr. David E. Smith
– founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics of San Francisco, and also a national leader in addiction medicine.
Dr. Bill Cody – Dean of the Blair College of Health and the Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University of Charlotte. He also started a free health clinic in Charlotte.

  • Event  |  Dr. Smith will speak about his experiences with the free clinic movement on October 1, at Queens Universtiy of Charlotte. More details.

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  1. The USA doesn’t need free clinics, but rather ones which are lower cost in tune with most people’s incomes (around 50% of Americans make less than $30,000 a year). The fact is that there is an oversupply of doctors and dentists in the modern USA (just as there is an oversupply of lawyers, bankers, teachers, etc), yet medical and dental prices still remain artificially high despite the oversupply of those medical professionals – I suppose this is because the AMA and ADA monopolize the American market and can thus set prices at whatever they want, which means they cannot be ‘undercut.’

    The basic economic law of supply and demand is being wantonly violated, as medical and dental prices remain unrealistically high despite the saturation of the market. Meanwhile the bodily and dental health of many Americans continues to decline while slots in very many medical and dental offices remain open. Strange days we’re living in.

    • I would argue that the main reason for the high costs are doctors trying to avoid lawsuits by preforming every test under the sun for everyone. It’s impossible to calculate how much is needlessly spent. Tort reform should have been addressed in Obamacare.

      • Tort reform would yield a savings of about 2%. No small change, eh?

  2. Great show, as one who grew up with what Dr. Smith is talking about, as a ‘Nam Vet last year of my four served in country, and as an activist and advocate after returning from on the health issues, mostly veterans, as well as other issues. One thing about the mention of us Vietnam Veterans, those civilians who were quick to recognize what always was, came from the ranks of the Anti War people and especially the free clinics that which was fought to finally be recognized Combat PTSD and many vets not only benefited from that but also went on to become counselors or in the mental health professions. Sadly it took two more wars of choice to wake up the public about what they ignored and not only as to Combat PTSD but civilians who suffer same from traumatic experiences in their lives!

  3. Mike:

    Perhaps your local guest can tell me what service is available if you live in South Carolina-York County-are working and are not provided access to insurance through your employer?

    Jim Thompson
    Fort Mill,SC

  4. I am a 39 yr old male. Recently I returned to school to get a degree and in one of my courses I was required to write a research paper. I chose to write mine on the health care system, in part because of the whole debate in Washington and in part because I come from a country which has a “Universal health care system”. What I found was rather surprising. Two sources in particular made my head explode. According to the World Heath Organization, the US system isn’t even the best in North America… it’s not even the second best. Canada has a life expectancy of 78yrs with a child mortality rate of 6 per 1000. In Cuba the expectancy is 78yrs with a child mortality rate of 7 per 1000. How ever the States have an expectancy of 75yrs and a child mortality rate of 8 per 1000. In fact, according to Charles Gauss, author of “Comparitive Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges (6th edition”, has a chart based on reports from the World Bank and the United Nation’s Developement Program that shows the US the lowest life expectancy and the highest child mortality rate of ALL the industrialized nations. Something needs to change if the US truly wants to be a world leader.

  5. Since we are on the topic of health and healthcare I might as well pass along a book recommendation for both doctors and patients. It is entitled NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL DEGENERATION by Weston A. Price; it can be read online for free @ http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/price/pricetoc.html – it isn’t too long and can be read in just a few hours.

    The book is excellent and explains how modern/Western diets – composed largely of white flour, sugar, canned foods, syrupy foods (corn syrup, etc), white bread, pasta, various ‘fortified’ grains, etc – has wrecked the health not only of Westerners but of all other groups which adopted such unhealthy diets and foods during the 19th/20th Century. The book is primarily focused on dentistry (because the author of the book was a dentist) though also general health: Dr Price explains time after time how the rate of cavities and other serious dental and general health problems exploded amongst numerous groups after the adoption of the modern Western diet, while before they rarely got any cavities or had any severe dental issues whatsoever as long as they continued to eat their traditional foods. The book includes many detailed pictures showing the degeneration of dental and general health after the adoption of the aforementioned modern foods.

    The book focuses on numerous pre-modern groups around the world and clearly explains how the health of their group or tribe took a major turn for the worse after they adopted Western diets composed of the above-mentioned modern/Western processed foods. He also shows how Westernized agriculture has an exceedingly short-sighted ‘slash and burn’ mass-agricultural mentality which denudes the soil of nutrients in just a few years and thus in the long run renders the food or livestock raised on that land very low in the necessary vitamins and nutrients.

    Add to food issue a largely sedentary lifestyle due to the mass-automation of labor during the 20th Century and you have a double-whammy in terms of bad health habits.

    Sample chapter: in this chapter Dr Price compares the largely lowland modern Swiss who ate a common Western/processed diets (with their bad dental and general health) to a small Swiss village which was isolated up in a far mountain pass and continued to eat their traditional foods – http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/price/price3.html

    Very fascinating stuff.

  6. “Business hates competition. Such competition might appear in various forms … [making] planning difficult, and [jeopardizing] profits. Businessmen prefer to get together with competitors so that they can cooperate to exploit consumers to the benefit of profits instead of competing with each other to the injury of profits.”

    * from “Tragedy And Hope” by Carroll Quigley

  7. cool

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    site, and your views are fastidious for new viewers.

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