By Wendy Sarubbi | February 23, 2015 1:13 pm

Twice a month on Thursday evenings, more than 20 UCF medical students, faculty and volunteer physicians operate KNIGHTS Clinic, a free clinic for the uninsured at Grace Medical Home in Orlando.

KNIGHTS stands for Keeping Neighbors In Good Health Through Service. UCF medical students operate all areas of the clinic from the lab to patient education. They collaborate with University of Florida pharmacy students who run the pharmacy and UCF social work students who provide care for patients’ psycho-social needs, including unemployment, depression and addiction,

“The KNIGHTS clinic brings what we learn in the classroom to life,” said second-year medical student Faith Villanueva who was staging the phlebotomy lab during a recent clinic and helping first-year students who are just beginning to get experience with real-world patient care. “It feels like a big extended family caring for each other, and it fosters the strong community relationships that I hope to have in my professional career in the future.”

A recent visitor to the clinic was Pete Diebel, whose family’s Diebel Legacy Fund at Central Florida Foundation helps support the clinic. Diebel lost his brother, Don, an OB-GYN in 2002 when the physician was struck by a tractor-trailer after stopping to help a couple trapped in an overturned pickup on Florida’s Turnpike.

The family established the fund to help encourage humanitarianism and selfless service in others. “If I can help one student be like my brother, then it’s worthwhile.” Diebel said of the foundation’s support of the KNIGHTS Clinic.

In addition to supporting the KNIGHTS Clinic, Diebel Legacy Fund at Central Florida Foundation also supports the UCF College of Medicine’s annual medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic. There, students from multiple medical disciplines set up clinics to care for people in rural villages that lack health care..

As he chatted with students at the KNIGHTS Clinic recently, Diebel brimmed with pride watching the students learn and interact with patients. He said this was what his brother would have wanted. At one point Diebel rolled up his sleeve to volunteer to have his blood drawn so first-year UCF medical student Michael Simpson could practice.  “Mr. Diebel seemed very proud of the work going on at the clinic,” Simpson said.

Meeting Diebel was also special for Villanueva. “Being able to interact with our donor and show him the work we do was incredibly meaningful to me,” she said. “I feel confident and empowered knowing that we have the community supporting us in our service efforts, and that together, we can keep Dr. Donald Diebel’s lifelong legacy of selfless service alive.”

Post Tags

Related Stories