Volunteers in Medicine® is the only national organization with a successful track record of developing sustainable free clinics in concert with local community organizing groups. The VIM Model has been tested at the local level and continuously refined to include best practices. It relies primarily on volunteer effort and depends on local leadership, community organization and sound planning to succeed. VIM clinics provide services free of charge to patients and do not bill third party payers.
The “Culture of Caring” is the heart and soul of every VIM clinic. This approach is based on an ethical standard in medicine acknowledging that how people are treated during a clinic visit is as important as the actual medical care they receive. We believe that people who come to a VIM clinic are our friends and neighbors, good people in need of help. Surviving on limited resources, they often exhibit great courage simply trying to get through each day.
Recognizing the strengths of those in need and respecting their dignity, the “Culture of Caring” seeks to heal not only physical illness, but also the injury caused by bias, prejudice and indifference.
It is VIM’s established belief that those who give care within a “Culture of Caring” experience as much healing as those who receive care. Policies and procedures for implementing and maintaining the “Culture of Caring” are a required component of all Volunteers in Medicine clinics.
“There are huge benefits to the VIM model – following a guided, comprehensive process, rooted in the community. The more common alternative is one person who muddles through.”
Julie S. Darnell, PhD, MHSA
Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences
Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago
Principal Investigator National Survey of Free & Charitable Clinics