Every year, we bestow two Hero of Hope Awards, one to an individual and one to a partner facility. Hero of Hope Award recipients go above and beyond for their patients, leading collaboration with others, inspiring systemic improvements to increase medication access within their communities, and implementing innovative and meaningful ways to engage with and advocate for the most vulnerable among us.
We are honored to announce the 2023 Partner Facility Hero of Hope Award, Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Hilton Head Island.
It All Begins with Access
People can’t get the medical attention they need when there’s nowhere for them to go. That’s why the Volunteers in Medicine Program was first founded. Dedicated to helping providers establish and run clinics where they’re needed most, the program’s vision came to life thirty years ago when they opened their first clinic in Hilton Head Island, SC.
Volunteers in Medicine began modestly, with only five employees and a team of about 125 retired physicians, dentists, and nurses. They made the little they had go a long way, serving some 3,000 patients in that first year alone, and they haven’t looked back since. Today, more than 650 providers volunteer alongside more than 20 staff to serve about 10,000 patients a year.
In 2014, the clinic joined the Dispensary of Hope network with the goal of providing life-saving medications to even more people in their community.
Thank you to the many team members and volunteers at Volunteers in Medicine Clinic Hilton Head Clinic!
Driven to Do More
A place to see patients is just the beginning. Providers need to be able to ensure everyone in their care has access to the medications they need, too. The clinic’s collaboration with Dispensary of Hope makes that possible. For nearly a decade now, their patients have been able to follow doctor’s orders without worrying about whether a prescription copay is going to mean having less food to put on the table. For the last year in particular, following increases in our inventory for insulin and Trulicity, they’ve been better able to meet their care goals for patients with diabetes.
The team is constantly thinking about how best to provide patient care next. Most recently, that’s meant adopting a computerized inventory management system. It keeps track of 99% of prescriptions filled by the clinic, helping ensure both patient compliance and health and safety. It has also meant launching a new initiative, Food as Medicine. Swapping their latex gloves for gardening gloves, staff and volunteers harvest thousands of pounds of leafy vegetables annually and deliver them to patients and area non-profits.
The clinic’s team doesn’t like to brag, but they also know they can’t be of much service to anyone if they don’t spread the word. They strive to always work closely with local leaders to host and attend community events, especially within the African American and Latino communities.
What’s next for the clinic? Their latest goal is to understand more about how they can monitor medication adherence. But we’re confident they won’t stop there.
Congratulations, Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Hilton Head Island. It’s a privilege to partner with you and help you serve your community.