More than 40 Newman students, staff and faculty members volunteered at the third annual Medical Mission at Home.
The event took place April 13 at Mueller Aerospace Magnet Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas.
The Ascension Via Christi event was a free day of health care for the underserved in the community sponsored by Wichita State University, Newman University and the City of Wichita.
Ascension Via Christi Chief Operating Officer Todd Conklin said the local Ascension ministry, like many other Ascension ministries nationwide, is replicating a model started in Nashville, Tennessee, that has the name Medical Mission at Home.
“It’s where we deliver services directly into the community to the people that otherwise may never have access to care or may not be insured,” explained Conklin. “It’s our way of directly providing services and care to people that need it.”
The event brought hundreds of volunteers to help those in need, from checking patients in, gathering information about their specific needs and guiding them to the areas they would be helped by nurses and social workers.
Conklin said, “This is one of the greatest demonstrations of diligent work. We have Wichita State University, we have the City of Wichita, we have Newman University and many other groups in the community that partner with us. It means a lot that we have a show of community support and people that really care about residents in the community that need our care.”
Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., said this event is a perfect fit for Newman University. “This very important mission … aligns so well with our Catholic values to respect the dignity of every human person. It’s such a blessing to be able to see the eyes of Christ in everyone here.”
Diana Morford, a social work graduate student at Newman said her focus for the day was to act as a patient guide and advocate.
“During the check-in process, if the patients stated they don’t have enough food or proper shelter, or if their stress levels are high, they got sent to a social work student because we have a better understanding of all the different things that can cause stress. We made sure we were getting them linked with the resources they need, including behavioral and mental health resources.
“Today has given me an appreciation for how many services there are in the area,” added Morford, “and the importance of being aware of those, but also being willing to collaborate with them and work together, remembering we are all after the same thing — making sure people get the help and resources they need.”
Marisa-Nicole Zayat, a senior pre-med student at Newman University, said volunteering at this event was so important to her that she decided to reschedule her Medical College Admission Test she was originally signed up for.
“The experience of volunteering at Medical Mission at Home,” said Zayat, “seeing people being provided with the care they may not have otherwise been able to afford, is something that is a miracle and truly changes people’s lives for the better. It will have a lasting impression because the one meeting can help them get medicines or information that can help them for years to come.”
Organizers said more than 300 people were expected to be given care throughout the day.
Conklin added he is grateful for the opportunity to serve people in the community and said he is looking forward to many more years of Medical Mission at Home.
“It’s meaningful to us because that’s what we’re here to do and are touched that we have such a warm reception from people that want to partner. We anticipate there will continue to be a need and we’re more than happy to fill that need.”