By Wendy Sarubbi | March 5, 2018 3:15 pm

Two medical students serving in the UCF College of Medicine’s student-run KNIGHTS Clinic have been elected to leadership in a national society for student-run free clinics.  Second-year students Meagan Acevedo and Ayan Nasir and were elected to serve on the board of the Society for Student-Run Free Clinics as conference coordinator and finance chair respectively, at the society’s annual conference in February.

At the same conference, KNIGHTS clinic board members were invited to present 13 posters on quality improvement projects they carried out at the clinic. This was the highest number of posters presented by a single medical school at the event.

The society provides a platform for about 100 student-run clinics across the nation to share ideas, experiences, and research through its website, newsletters and an annual conference.

In her role as conference coordinator-elect, Acevedo, who is currently KNIGHTS Clinic’s co-chair for finance, will be in charge of planning the society’s annual conference that his year was attended by more than 600 students from 96 free-clinics in four countries.

“This appointment does mean a lot to me,” Acevedo said. “As a member of the KNIGHTS Clinic, I know what impact free clinics can have on the community and so having the ability to not only represent UCF but also serve on the board that’s planning this conference is really impactful.”

During her two-year appointment, she will spend the first year shadowing the current conference coordinator before assuming the role the following year.

“It’s an opportunity to see research that’s going on, to network with students from other free clinics and see how they improving patients’ lives through service,” she added. “I’m really proud to be able to serve in this position and excited to see what the next year brings.”

Nasir is currently the accounting chair at KNIGHTS clinic and brings an extensive financial background to his new position. He was a former financial analyst at one of Wall Street’s leading firms and majored in financial engineering at Columbia University before deciding to go into medicine.

“My mother is a doctor and so I’ve always been interested in medicine,” Nasir said. “But after working in finance for a few years, I felt like I wanted do something with a more tangible impact and medicine fit that calling for me.”

As finance chair-elect, Nasir will also spend the first year shadowing the current finance chair before assuming the role of finance chair the following year.

“This appointment is an opportunity to use my financial skills set and combine it with the type of work I’m doing now at KNIGHTS Clinic to help other people and be more involved in medicine,” Nasir said. “It also shows that we’re doing good work that’s important to be shared with other clinics.”

KNIGHTS,  which stands for Keeping Neighbors In Good Health Through Service, operates twice a month at Orlando’s Grace Medical Home and cares for about 70 uninsured patients. It provides healthcare services, health promotion, disease prevention, social support, case management, and appropriate referrals to medical and social resources in the community. KNIGHTS is funded by the Diebel Legacy Fund at Central Florida Foundation.

Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, KNIGHTS clinic’s medical director and an associate professor at the medical school, says the clinic’s recognition at the national level is a testament to its quality of work and research.

“The fact that two of our students have been elected to the serve on this national board means they will be able to give direction and insight to other clinics based on their experience at KNIGHTS,” Dr. Pasarica added. “This really speaks to level of work and research we are doing at the College of Medicine as well as the talent and leadership skills our students possess.”

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