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Going for Gold: DeSales Free Clinic Earns Top Rating from National Organization

by Janelle Hill Jul 9, 2020

The DeSales Free Clinic has earned high marks for the quality care it provides to the men of the Allentown Rescue Mission. 

The clinic has received a 2020 Gold Rating from the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, which works to ensure the medically underserved have access to affordable and quality healthcare. 

“We’re taking care of our men so that they get the continual, compassionate care they need until they can afford insurance and find their own primary care provider,” says Suzanne Cressman, assistant professor and director of the DeSales Free Clinic. “We’re bridging the gap for them until they can begin to trust the healthcare system and understand how much they matter. We want to help them realize the importance of taking care of their health and to learn how to navigate their way in the local healthcare system.”

Brett Feldman M’07, a graduate of the Physician Assistant Program, founded the student-run, student-funded Free Clinic back in 2007. To qualify for the gold rating, member organizations must meet seven quality standards, including enhanced access and continuity of care, planning and managing care, and measuring and improving performance. 

“We’re teaching students how to take care of the whole patient as a human being,” Cressman says. “We’re meeting patients where they are at in life and hope to understand them and help care for them well.”  

 Suzanne Cressman, assistant professor and director of the DeSales Free Clinic

Cressman credits PA students for all of their hard work and faculty and preceptors for the excellent education they provide to the students, coming from different healthcare specialties and each with varied experiences.  

“We have an amazing student board with committees that function to keep the Free Clinic moving forward. The preceptors give freely of their time to be part of this work in our community. Collaborating with the Allentown Rescue Mission has been a great experience of joy for all of us.”