SF Free Clinic Wins USF California Prize for Service and the Common Good

The USF community celebrated the work of Drs. Richard and Patricia Gibbs, co-founders of the San Francisco Free Clinic and recipients of USF’s 2013 California Prize for Service and the Common Good, last Tuesday Oct. 29. The welcoming reception took place in the Atrium Lobby of Lo Schiavo, followed by a dinner gala event in a large white tent on Welch Field, just outside St. Ignatius Church.

Over 300 guests attended the celebration, including 22 USF Trustees, three past California Prize recipients, and the San Francisco Fire Chief.

The University awards the California Prize each year to an organization or individuals that “contribute significantly to the quality of life in our community, especially the poor and the marginalized,” Father Privett said before presenting the couple with the prize.

Before Drs. Richard and Patricia Gibbs opened the San Francisco Free Clinic, a clinic dedicated to providing medical care to the uninsured, the couple looked at the work they were doing in their successful private practice and decided they were catering to the wrong population.

“Almost one out of four people in San Francisco have no health insurance,” said Dr. Richard Gibbs, who, as a private physician, could only tend to insured patients before opening the free clinic. “When we looked at that statistic, we got the idea to flip the shingle around and went non-profit,” he said.

Dr. Patricia Gibbs said she and her husband felt bad, as “there were plenty of doctors to take care of the insured patients, but the uninsured were going without care.”

The clinic, located on California Ave. between 11th and 12th Ave., is home to over 70,000 patients that have been treated with quality care and otherwise costly medications, free of charge. The clinic as a whole has agreed to not accept public funding, keeping grant writing and administrative duties between the doctors and nurses to avoid extra costs, explained Dr. Richard Gibbs. “We can deliver a lot more medical care for a lot less money: we stay totally out of politics and we don’t have to accept any government directives; we can treat anyone who comes through the door,” said Dr. Richard Gibbs.

Not only does the clinic provide preventive and primary medical care to uninsured patients, it also educates future medical practitioners to advance the field as a whole.

“We have about 24 students from Yale’s School of Medicine, six from USC, eight or nine from UCSF, in addition to medical residents from California Pacific Medical Center and UCSF,” Dr. Richard Gibbs said. “What we offer is training and primary care, which is really hard to get ahold of in medical school.” The SF Free Clinic trains their medical practitioners in areas of gynecology and orthopedics, in addition to standard training; some of which is not readily available when attending medical school.

Joined by members of their staff, Drs. Richard and Patricia Gibbs accepted the award on behalf of “everyone who has made the clinic what it is.” Dr. Richard Gibbs said, adding that “the clinic is not a place, it’s people.”

After expanding in 2000, the SF Free Clinic now has 135 physician offices. As to where their patients would be without a free clinic, Dr. Patricia Gibbs thinks there would be more people going into the emergency room, less people taking their medication, and ultimately more patients with financial hardships.

“We see a lot of people that have a chronic medical condition who have lost their insurance and have stopped taking their medicine,” she said. Their conditions could have spiraled out of control to the point of having to visit the emergency room — “but luckily they came to us before that happened.”

Dr. Richard Gibbs emphasized that medicine is not a business of the masses, but a business of one on one. “The most important thing is focusing on that one person. If we could just get more people doing that, we could take care of the masses that need it,” he said.

The crowd was energized throughout the night of the event, with the help of Master of Ceremonies Renel Brooks-Moon, also the PA announcer for the SF Giants. After Drs. Patricia and Richard Gibbs spoke on their appreciation for the prize, the room filled with laughter as Brooks-Moon said, “If you are not inspired, I would like someone from the clinic to come check your pulse tonight!”

Student volunteers serving on the USF Philanthropy Committee, sophomores Megan Kenney and Natalie Gallo, were invited to the event to represent the USF student body. “We are working to create awareness about the importance of donations to USF and raising money to provide scholarship support for our fellow students,” said Kenney.

They were both inspired by the event. The prize is a great idea, Gallo said, “for those who have reached what most of us are striving for here at USF” — a passion for helping others.

The Dean of the School of Nursing, Judith Carshmer, tied the award back to USF students by speaking on the importance of the service learning requirement, and the goodness of service as a whole and as the cornerstone of work done at SF Free Clinic.

“USF has completed over 400,000 hours of service to the community of San Francisco. We apply our classroom scholarship to issues that concern the real world,” said Carshmer, who honored the nursing students who have had the opportunity to work not only with the free clinic, but also in Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels in the Tenderloin and Rafael House, so as to “intervene in people’s lives right where they’re at.”

At the end of the night, MC Brooks-Moon honored a long list of sponsors who made both the event and the clinic possible. “This is not the end of a celebration, but an invitation to do more,” she said.

Dr. Richard Gibbs said that when they opened the doors of the free clinic, they were never expecting to see so many people in San Francisco without health insurance. How they handled it, he said, was to, “offer them dignity and good health, a whole person kind of life.”

The Dons pose with their WCC Championship trophy. USF continued its series of successful seasons, leaving Malibu with their fifth consecutive conference title. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Women’s Cross Country: Five Time Champions!

Dahlberg’s First Place Finish Catapults Dons to Fifth Consecutive WCC Championship

     On a beautiful Saturday morning in Malibu, Calif., the Dons rolled to their fifth straight West Coast Conference title in fashion. Heading into to the meet ranked 17th in the nation, the Dons were met with big expectations, and meet them they did.USF dominated the 6,000-meter race right from the get-go, as graduate student Bridget Dahlberg and senior Maor Tiyouri were in first and third by the first split. Dahlberg went on to place first in the field with a time of 20:55, while Tiyouri crossed the finish line with time of 21:20, which was good for sixth place.Other Dons dominated the field as well, with four USF runners placing in the top 10. Redshirt seniors Sophie Curl and Eva Krchova finished in eighth and tenth place, respectively, and were awarded First Team All-WCC honors along with Dahlberg and Tiyouri. Junior Kate Jamboretz was an All-WCC Honorable Mention. The win was the culmination of the hard work that had been put into the regular season, and was something for players and coaches to relish in.

“Obviously, it’s really exciting to win our fifth, and it doesn’t really seem like that many,” head coach Helen Lehman-Winters told “It all goes so fast. We came into the championships knowing that this was a really important meet for us. Winning five is really all about the people we have in our program and the standards that they’ve set. I attribute this success to them.”

Even as the day was clearly a successful one for the Dons, it wasn’t completely free from suspense. Trailing Portland’s Laura Hottenrott into the final stretch of the match, Dalhberg surged to a comfortable lead, and it looked as if the Dons were headed towards a certain victory. However, Hottenrott would come back to regain the lead and come dangerously close to taking first place. But digging deep, Dahlberg used her final kick to surge into the top spot, and ended up beating out Hottenrott by three seconds.

“I just think the team had a great performance today and nothing stops momentum. This is a great start before [regionals],” Dahlberg told’s Amanda Blackwell.

With the win, the Dons find themselves in a groove heading into the NCAA West Regionals, which will take place on Nov. 15 at Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento, Calif.

Not even a missing shoe could deter Adam Smith, who pushed through the pain to finish in 53rd place despite lacking sufficient footwear for much of the race. (Photo courtesy of Adam Smith)

Adam Smith’s Shoeless Feat

Redshirt junior Adam Smith ran four miles of the WCC Championships cross country race missing his right shoe.

What happened? Where’d your shoe go?

I lost my shoe about three quarters of a mile into the race, and it was a five mile race…it was hectic and somebody stepped on my shoe. I got a flat tire, and it was kind of half-on and half-off. I thought about stepping off to the side to fix it, but the group was so tight and it was going so fast that if I had stepped off it would have been a bad situation trying to get back into the race. So I thought I would see if my shoe would stay on for a while. About half a mile later it was at such a point where I had to kick it off.

So how long were you running without a shoe?

About four miles.  At first it wasn’t too bad because the top loop of the course was very flat and downhill and grassy, so it felt okay. There’s a certain loop on the course that was dirt and gravel, it was pretty rough. It wasn’t too bad running on it, but I could feel that it wasn’t going to be fun. By the third and fourth loops I was trying to run on the side of the course where there was a little bit grass, I was pushing spectators out of the way.

Did anyone say anything to you as you ran by?

They just said stuff like “stay strong, don’t give up.” And apparently the announcers got wind of the fact that someone had lost their shoe, because it has a [tracking] chip on it. I went back and re-watched the race and they exclaimed that “Adam Smith from USF has lost his shoe, and ‘I wonder if he’ll try to kick off his other shoe to even out the feeling on each foot.’” There’s no way I could have done that. It was really painful to run just without one [shoe].

So it did hurt a lot while you were running?

Yeah, it was pretty painful, my foot is pretty cut up. Also when you run without shoes, your foot uses different muscles, or uses them in different ways, so my foot is pretty sore right now. But it’s not at the point where I can’t run. I’m still practicing, but it’s just painful.

Are you happy with your decision to run shoeless or do you wish you had put it back on?

In the moment, I didn’t think it was a good idea to stop and put it back on. But looking back, I probably should have. If I could go back I would definitely have tried to put it back on.

How did you do in the race? Did you do worse because you were missing a shoe?

Yeah, I probably could have raced about a minute and a half faster I feel like. We came in fifth place as a team. I feel like if I had run to the level I would have been at if I wasn’t in a lot of pain, we probably could have place third or fourth at the very least. So that kind of sucks.

Do you think it was the hardest race you had to do?

It was hard because I wasn’t able physically to run as fast, but I’ve had worse races from my own standpoint because I wasn’t as focused or mentally in it. This race I was in a good mentality and was pushing myself the whole time as much as I could. So I think I’ve had worse races than this past one, it might not show on paper, but [I have].

The new entrance to USF Student Health Clinic is at 2250 Hayes St. The clinic is located on the 5th floor and offers a wider scope of health services. (Photo: Allison Fazio)

Changes to USF Student Health Clinic: More Than Just a New Entrance

As of last June, the student health clinic has moved to a new location within St. Mary’s Medical Center, and with that, has acquired an all new staff of hospital administrators and physicians.

Up until the end of spring semester, USF’s student health clinic was located on the second floor of St. Mary’s Medical Center, at Stanyan St., and was operated primarily by two nurse practitioners.

The USF student health clinic is now located on the 5th floor of St. Mary’s Medical, at 2250 Hayes St. — one block down from the entrance of the previous clinic. It is now operated by two physicians: one male and one female.

After a mutual agreement with the nurse practitioners, the University decided to move its student clinic to a different location with a different staff “in order to better satisfy the needs of students,” said Kamal Harb, director of Health Promotion Services at USF. With an influx of students with extensive health problems, the University lacked a clinic that could provide a wider scope of services.

According to Harb, the new physicians are able to serve more students per day, and they are more comfortable prescribing medications. Without a required 30 minute time slot for each student, the physicians assess most student health concerns within 10–15 minutes. In turn, they are able to help lower the general time spent in the waiting room and increase their number of daily appointments.

While the former student health clinic nurse practitioners were not comfortable prescribing psychiatric medication or oral contraceptives to students due to the risk of side effects as well as religious restrictions within St. Mary’s, the physicians — now under new hospital management and California State law — can provide students with both short-term psychiatric medication and oral contraceptives. “The physicians are okay prescribing psych meds for a temporary time until students see a psychologist for further evaluation,” explained one hospital administrator at the USF student health clinic front desk.

Under the rules of Aetna, the healthcare provider for USF’s student health insurance, physicians are now required, if requested, to give certain forms of contraceptives for female students at student healthcare clinics throughout California. This policy overrides any restrictions laid out in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” to which St. Mary’s adheres.

An addendum to the Aetna plan, issued September 2012, states that “female contraceptives that are generic prescription drugs,” “female contraceptive devices and related services and supplies that are generic,” and “FDA-approved female over-the-counter contraceptive methods that are prescribed by your physician” are covered expenses under all California student healthcare insurance plans.

“To be honest, we needed to have a clinic for students,” Harb said, adding, “USF did not intentionally seek out the clinic because it served birth control — it was a part of a package that included a wider range of health services for the benefit of students.”

So far, Harb and students have reacted positively to the new student health clinic.

“I’ve been very happy with the [new clinic],” Harb said. “The physicians are extremely responsive; [they] offer a greater scope of services and are very quick.”

While many students have had positive feelings towards the new student health services and clinic location, there are others who found the switch shocking.

“It was hard developing a relationship with one of the nurse practitioners and then being expected to switch doctors,” said senior communications major Maude Ballinger.

The change in USF’s health care service follows a change in hospital ownership, after Dignity Health Care Group bought St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Francis Memorial Hospital earlier this summer, Harb said.

“I’ve heard no complaints about the switch,” he said. Harb invites any students with positive or negative feedback about the new student health clinic to let him know their thoughts.

A clown masked actor was one of the frightening faces in the haunted house. (Photo by Danielle Maingot)

CAB Ends October with a Fright!

Last Wednesday on Oct. 30, USF’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) held their annual Fright Night, which included the best campus haunted house I’ve seen. Fright Night has become an annual USF tradition that takes place a day or two before Halloween.

Johnny Chibnall and Makenzi Brown of the ASUSF Senate Executive Board took part in the Halloween fun dressed as a nun and cat. (Photo by Danielle Maingot)

Johnny Chibnall and Makenzi Brown of the ASUSF Senate Executive Board took part in the Halloween fun dressed as a nun and cat. (Photo by Danielle Maingot)

With a line winding around McLaren lobby, the event gained much attention from the USF community. It was initially slow to pick up, but as soon as the first batches of students went in and loved the experience, more and more started to rush into the building.

The haunted house was done professionally and student actors prepared for over two weeks to make sure their parts were as scary and convincing as possible. Strobe lights were placed to disorient students, actors in clown masks frequently jumped out at groups, and the screams of innocent victims were heard all throughout McLaren for hours. Within the tunnels were endless streamers, strings falling around you, bewildering you along the journey. Not only were the participants constantly in character, but the general design of the haunted house itself was executed excellently.

Student clown actor Sean Gresems said, “It was the best thing I’ve ever done!” He navigated his way throughout the dark ominous tunnels popping out as individuals walked by. With the orange frazzled hair, wide grin and pale white face, it was almost hard not to want to run in the opposite direction.  Attendants agreed that it was a fun and frightening way to begin Halloween weekend. Many students also attended the event in costume, contributing to the spooky theme. Overall, CAB put on a widely successful and well-attended event that is bound to be even more terrifying next year.

Fun and Free Events Before Final Exams

In need of a study break? Here is a lineup of free upcoming events to check out this week.

Saturday, Nov. 9 — 2013 Leap Sandcastle Contest at Ocean Beach

  • Check out Northern California’s largest sand castle building contest. The theme is “Masterpieces in the Sand” and teams are encouraged to sculpt works of art from history.
  • 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday – Monday, Nov. 9-11 — Free National Parks Weekend 

  • All national parks will be free this Veteran’s Day Weekend. Escape the city and immerse yourself in nature this weekend at local national parks like Muir Woods and Yosemite.
  • Parking fees are waived.
  • All day

Sunday, Nov. 10 — KUSF’s Rock’n’Swap 

  • McLaren Hall, USF
  • KUSF is welcoming all music lovers and vendors to sell, buy, and exchange music related items at their second Rock’n’Swap.
  • Bring cash to purchase items.
  • 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 11 — Classical Revolution Chamber Music Jam

  • The Revolution Cafe in the Mission District
  • Enjoy live chamber music performed by local musicians every Monday.
  • 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 12 — Movie Night: The Gratitude Experiment 

  • Phelan Hall LL01, USF
  • The University Ministry is showing the film “The Gratitude Experiment,” which explores how showing gratitude can change your life positively. Popcorn and refreshments will be provided.
  • 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 – 16 — Indie Mart Mini Vintage Art and Fashion Party

  • Workshop SF between McAllister and Baker St.
  • Indie Mart is a hosting 12 vendors selling vintage and repurposed goods. There will also be food trucks
  • 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.