Medical Professionals Hold Free Clinic for the “Hardest-Working Feet in Madison, Wisconsin”

On a snowy Saturday morning just before Thanksgiving, almost 40 of Madison, Wisconsin’s homeless and disadvantaged were welcomed to a free bimonthly foot-care clinic hosted by the First United Methodist Church and organized by the Madison Street Medicine Initiative, which is operated under the Madison Area Care for the Homeless OneHealth (MACH OneHealth) organization (http://machonehealth.org/). This clinic has been underway for almost two years and has become increasingly successful, popular, and efficient with each successive session. At the November 18 event (see ten photos at end), running from 9 am to 12 noon, the number of participating health professionals (MDs, nurses, wound specialists, and volunteer helpers) was approximately the same as the number of homeless (38) seeking help with their feet. As Meg Collins, an RN and certified wound care nurse from Madison and Dane County Public Health said, this clinic is a great opportunity to care for the “hardest-working feet in Madison.” One of the medical professionals who is key to this wonderful effort is Ann Catlett, MD, who is a trained internist specializing in palliative care at University of Wisconsin (UW) Health. Dr. Catlett is also Medical Director of the Madison Street Medicine Initiative. This recently founded Initiative is funded by a two-year $100,000 UW Ira and Ineva Baldwin Grant intended to leverage University expertise to do good for the greater Wisconsin community. Dr. Catlett said that before the foot-care clinic was started, MACH OneHealth had heard from those experiencing homelessness, as well as from outreach workers, that foot care was a major health need for the homeless. After the clinic had been launched, the Madison Street Medicine Initiative undertook a survey that confirmed this need. Dr. Catlett said the survey results also highlighted that homeless people have trouble accessing health care because of transportation challenges, as well as also having issues of mistrust of providers and fear of judgment in the clinic setting. Dr. Catlett added that the Project Coordinator for the Madison Street Medicine Initiative is Bootsy Harden.
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