CSG unanimously votes to fund health program

By Kristen Fedor, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 11, 2014

The Central Student Government unanimously passed a resolution to allocate funds to Michigan Health Aid at Tuesday night’s meeting. The approved resolution will allocate $3,000 from the Legislative Discretionary Account to Michigan Health Aid for an upcoming free medical clinic to be held in September.

Michigan Health Aid is an organization dedicated to helping improve the health of underprivileged residents of Washtenaw County. Last September, Michigan Health Aid served 32 patients at its first free clinic in Ypsilanti, which CSG also contributed $3,000 to.

Last year’s clinic provided free walk-in medical checkups. The upcoming clinic will follow a format similar to last year’s event but will be expanded to include internal medicine, dental, pediatrics, gynecology, psychology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, gastroenterology, urology and podiatry.

Several patients in the past received serious diagnoses as a result of the checkups, allowing for preventative care. High blood pressure related to diabetes and suicidal thoughts were among the cases discovered.

Business senior Matthew Fernandez, finance chairman of Michigan Health Aid, said the clinics help bring attention to health concerns of patients who otherwise would have gone unattended.

“We can give them the help and advice they need,” he said. “If it’s something that requires immediate medical attention, at least we’re there to be able to bring them to a hospital.”

LSA junior Annie Pidgeon, representative and co-author of the resolution, said the passing of the resolution is important as CSG is the main source of funding for the clinic.

Fernandez added that Michigan Health Aid hopes to increase funding from businesses and other outside donors this year and into the future. He said as the organization expands, it will be easier to get funding from sources other than CSG.

“Now it will be much easier, once we’ve gained the trust of the community, to get more funding, to have more patients, to have more doctors,” he said.

Fernandez said the clinic will be a way for the student body to make a difference beyond campus.

“The student body has a lot of potential to make an impact in people’s lives, and if you have the opportunity to do so, you should do whatever you can,” Fernandez said.

Pidgeon said students often forget that Ann Arbor goes on outside the campus community, adding that upcoming clinic is an important way to give back to Ann Arbor.

“In helping everyone around us, we end up helping ourselves as well, because it’s a stronger community and it’s a healthier community,” she said.