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The DeSales Free Clinic

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

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 is staffed by DeSales students and faculty and has treated more than 1000 patients since it opened. No patient is ever turned away or charged for services, and the operation is run entirely on donations.

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 principals of cost-effect delivery of care and maximizing available community resources.

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, and orthopedic specialists

Service Learning by the Numbers

  • Total number of individual visits (Jan 2007 - Nov 2016): 5,214
  • Total number of individual patients (Jan 2007 - Jan 2014): 1,338
  • Average number of patients seen per evening: 8 to 10
  • Number of volunteer medical providers: 31
  • Number of DeSales PA graduates volunteering at the clinic: 16
  • Students raise over $5,000 per year for the DeSales Free Clinic

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. The second-year student has 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.


2021 NAFC Gold Rating

Our organization earned a 2021 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.

Contact Us

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