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The DeSales Free Clinic

A student-run free health clinic in Allentown that operates in the spirit of DeSales University's Christian humanistic traditions.

Located inside the Allentown Rescue Mission in the heart of center city Allentown, Pennsylvania, the DeSales Free Clinic allows our PA students to deliver competent and compassionate medical care to one of the area's most vulnerable populations.

The clinic is open two evenings per week to the men seeking shelter or enrolled in a recovery program at the Allentown Rescue Mission. DeSales PA students provide the following completely free of charge:

  • Primary care
  • Acute care
  • Laboratory services
  • Medications

Participation in the clinic is a curricular requirement for all first and second-year physician assistant graduate students as an integral part of their education. In addition, students develop other program-essential skills such as communicating with patients who have limited resources, as well as understanding the principles of cost-effect delivery of care and maximizing available community resources.

Compassionate Care
The DeSales Free Clinic at the Allentown Rescue Mission opened in January 2007 in an effort to bring healthcare to the homeless. The clinic, staffed by DeSales students, faculty, and preceptors, has treated more than 1000 patients since it opened. No patient is ever turned away or charged for services.
NAFC gold seal

2023 NAFC Gold Rating

Our organization earned a 2023 Gold Rating from the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) Quality Standards Program. We earned this rating by attesting that we have certain policies and procedures in place to provide quality care for our patients.

Services Provided at the DeSales Free Clinic

  • Free medical visits for both acute and chronic medical management
  • Free prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications
  • Free laboratory testing
  • Access to wound care, cardiology, endocrinology, podiatry, and orthopedic specialists

Collaboration and Mentoring Opportunities

Patients of the DeSales Free Clinic receive care provided directly by the DeSales Physician Assistant students. First- and second-year students work together as a team with the patient to gather the appropriate history and perform the physical exam.

This collaborative team setting allows first-year students the opportunity to apply what is being taught in the classroom to real-world scenarios. Second-year students have the opportunity to teach their peers and begin to learn the art of mentoring. Patients are discussed with preceptors or PA program faculty to develop an appropriate plan of care.

The DeSales University Nursing Program also incorporates student learning experiences at the Mission by providing screening procedures and therapeutic communication with the residents early in the morning. All patients with abnormal findings are referred to the DeSales Free Clinic on the same day, thus closing the loop of patient care referral. This collaboration between professions fosters a first-hand appreciation for the continuity of care.

A History of Mission-Responsible Care

The DeSales Free Clinic was opened by the DeSales Physician Assistant Program in January 2007, founded by then-student Brett Feldman. Since its inception, the Clinic has led to the treatment of multiple, previously unidentified, patients greatly in need of care. An invaluable community resource, the DeSales Free Clinic also honors the University's Christian humanistic traditions.

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Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS)
Gambet Center