Original sign in front of the Jackson Free Clinic for the Homeless. Since the foundation of the clinic, we have not only changed our name to Jackson Free Clinic, but also extended our hours.
Dr. Joyce Olutade
In the fall of 1998, Dr. Joyce Olutade, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at UMMC, addressed the student leaders of the Family Medicine Interest Group. She proposed a student-run health clinic to serve the indigent and homeless populations of Jackson. She had recently worked in a similar facility in California, and felt Jackson would benefit from this type of clinic. The clinic would provide a needed service while allowing medical students to gain knowledge and experience in a clinic setting. An organizational meeting was held, and six medical students began working to make this idea a reality.
In 2002, the Jackson Free Clinic for the Homeless was officially registered with the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Shortly afterwards, the name of the clinic was changed to the Jackson Free Clinic, as many who volunteered at the clinic realized its services reached beyond just homeless patients. Changing the name of the clinic reflected that it was there to serve any person who did not have access to medical insurance. Since then, the number of patients seeking care at the JFC has steadily grown. In 2018, the JFC provided healthcare services for over 1,100 patients.
As the number of uninsured patients seeking care grew, so did the need to provide additional healthcare services. Since the foundation of the clinic, patient care services have grown to include dental, psychiatric, pharmacy, and rehabilitation services. Students from other professional schools at UMMC began volunteering to make these services available. In just 20 short years of its existence, the JFC had expanded its services to include a more holistic healthcare experience for each patient, and strives to continue expanding services to each patient seeking care.