Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of supervising physical therapy students at Slippery Rock University’s pro bono clinic. In a time when the world is still struggling through a pandemic and navigating our new world, it was amazing to see these students sacrificing their scarce free time to help patients who have no other options.

For those that are unfamiliar with the SRU clinic, they provide free care to individuals who, for one reason or another, cannot afford to receive physical therapy services through their insurance. Patients receive an hour of individual physical therapy care, performed by a combination of 2nd and 1st year physical therapy students who are supervised by a licensed physical therapist (this was me last week!).

When I was in physical therapy school myself, I brought the idea of starting a pro bono program to my classmates and the faculty. While I received support in many ways, there were multiple hurdles to overcome in the community and with the university. I was halfway through my second year of school at the time, and I was unable to see the program come to fruition (due to lack of time and, admittedly: poor planning on my part).

But this didn’t stop the future classes who had the same vision as me. They continued the mission and a few years later, opened the pro bono clinic in the Slippery Rock physical therapy building.

And now, the clinic is open one day a week, helping patients in need.

No matter how healthcare changes, regardless of if we have universal healthcare or any other system in place; there will always be some people who slip through the cracks. People who run out of benefits before they have healed. People who don’t know how to navigate the system to access their insurance benefits. People who are taken advantage of by healthcare practitioners or others. Whatever the reason, those in need will never disappear.

And this isn’t limited to healthcare. There are people in need in many other ways too. If you have any extra time or extra funds, know that there are people out there who barely have enough to survive. A contribution of any amount of volunteer time or money to a worthy cause is always appreciated by those who need it. We owe it to our fellow humans to help out when we can.

You can learn more about the SRU pro bono program here:

IG: @sruprobonopt