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Learning While Serving
Pamela Urlacher
MENTOR MINUTES: JayDoc Clinic advisers Dr. Lauren Witt and Dr. Allen Greiner discuss clinic operations with former student directors Maggie Malmberg and Michael Arnold.
JayDoc Free Clinic Celebrates 20 Years of Care

The idea for the JayDoc Free Clinic began in the early 2000s when Jenny Koontz, third-year medical student, and fellow students at KU School of Medicine attended a lecture featuring speakers talking about safety-net clinics. Koontz and a small group of students got to work creating the plan for a clinic in Kansas City, Kan., to serve the community near KU Medical Center. Since then, students have strengthened the clinic and volunteered their time to provide quality medical care while enhancing their skills.

Proud to be celebrating its 20th anniversary, the JayDoc Free Clinic has served more than 20,000 uninsured and underinsured people in the greater Kansas City area. The student-run clinic focuses on giving back to the community and offers services Monday–Wednesday every week. Patients can receive free non-emergency urgent care and screenings, along with the opportunity to attend the clinic’s nine specialty nights for specific services such as cardiology, women’s health, diabetes, dental and radiology offered on select evenings. 

The volunteer clinic operates with the help of faculty advisers. The advisers meet with the student board leadership to discuss all areas of clinic oversight, operations, new projects, reporting, accreditations and following up with all student service providers about aspects of patient care.

“The JayDoc Clinic is nationally renowned. It’s a free clinic that is considered to be in the top echelon among student-run free clinics,” said Dr. Laurel Witt, JayDoc Clinic faculty adviser, former student director and KU School of Medicine graduate. “Our students are innovative, focused on community service and take care of nearly double the number of patients other schools’ free clinics manage.”


It makes me feel good to be able to interact with students who are energetic and excited to help people. I’ve been rewarded with those interactions from eager students who are smart and talented.”

Allen Greiner, JayDoc faculty adviser


Students from all phases of their medical academic career are encouraged to volunteer with the JayDoc Clinic. Undergraduate premedical students from KU are given the opportunity to volunteer as front desk interns, focusing on social service work, paperwork, administrative tasks and interpreting for patients who have language barriers.

A vast majority of JayDoc Clinic patients speak Spanish, creating a need for bilingual medical professionals within the Kansas City community. Michael Arnold, current second-year medical student and former JayDoc executive director, began his journey in the clinic as an undergraduate interpreter and returned during medical school.

“It has been the most meaningful experience for me in medical school, because even as a first-year student, you’re seeing and interacting with patients, faculty members and community physicians who are showing and teaching us firsthand how to be a doctor,” Arnold said. “The real takeaway is being able to work with underinsured and underserved populations in Kansas City. It taught me a lot about the kind of doctor and the kind of leader I want to be.”

The JayDoc Clinic model was so successful, it was replicated by students at KU School of Medicine-Wichita. The JayDoc Clinic in Wichita opened in 2005 in partnership with Guadalupe Clinic and serve hundreds of patients each year.

STUDENT LEADERS: JayDoc Clinic student volunteers Michael Arnold and Maggie Malmberg strengthened their patient care skills while serving the community. “It’s a unique opportunity for learning how to interact with patients and how to present to physicians,” Malmberg said.

Students are the sole reason the clinic can serve and provide resources to the communities they serve. This passion and commitment are shown through the care patients receive and the growing number of patients seen each year.

“I have had a patient who I’ve seen multiple times for diabetes control. It’s been neat to follow up with him over the last two years, setting goals and managing his diabetes,” said Maggie Malmberg, former JayDoc director of fundraising and current second-year medical student. “Getting to follow patients over time and see the changes in their health is a unique aspect of our clinic.”

JayDoc Clinic offers experiences and support for students unlike any other, helping them become life-changing physicians and community leaders.

“It amazes me how smart and talented these students are and what they can accomplish,” said Dr. Allen Greiner, JayDoc faculty adviser and KU School of Medicine graduate. “I’ve been really lucky to be involved, and others would say the same.”


Keep the Community Healthy

You can help JayDoc Free Clinic provide medical care to individuals in need by donating at

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