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Students Pledge $1M To UC San Diego Free Clinic

Photo caption: An undated photo of Dr. Ellen Beck, director and co-founder of the UC San Die...

Photo by UC San Diego

An undated photo of Dr. Ellen Beck, director and co-founder of the UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project.

Students Pledge More Than $1M To UC San Diego Free Clinic

GUESTS:

Dr. Ellen Beck, director, UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project

Lt. Anthony Kuleto, resident pediatrician, Naval Medical Center San Diego

Transcript

The UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project has reached a financial milestone: Its medical students have pledged $1 million in donations to continue the clinic’s work.

The clinic’s students, who treat indigent patients across the city, started organizing the donations in 2011. No money has changed hands yet, but the students have promised to give between $500 and $1,000 a year for five years once they graduate and complete their residencies. The first class that made the pledge graduated last year and is expected to start giving in a few years. Some local donors and alumni have also pledged matching contributions.

The clinic’s annual budget is about $2 million, according to director and co-founder Dr. Ellen Beck, so the donations will not be able to fully fund the clinic. But Beck said the donations means she won’t have to be scared about balancing her budget.

“I’d be worried about money for the years to come and (students) would say, ‘Don’t worry. Once I have a salary, I’ll donate and you’ll never have to worry about money again,’” Beck said. “They take it to heart.”

Beck and Lt. Anthony Kuleto, a member of the clinic’s first pledge class and a resident pediatrician at Naval Medical Center San Diego, join KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss how the donations will impact the clinic’s work.

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