Practices such as acupuncture, meditation and massage were once considered “alternative medicine.” But as research continues to validate many of these ancient practices as effective against chronic pain, chemotherapy related nausea and stress, many of these methods are becoming mainstream at hospitals around the nation. UF Health is taking a leading role in offering such services to patients through its Integrative Medicine program. UF Health combines these integrative medicine practices with the latest research to foster a connection between the mind, body and spirit, aspects of care often missing in conventional medicine. Integrative medicine places the patient and practitioner as partners in the healing process and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences affecting a person’s health. The program adheres to the belief that good medicine is both science and art. Integrative medicine is inquiry-driven and relationship-centered, providing patients with evidence-informed, non-pharmacological health plans to achieve their goals.
Visit ufhealth.org/integrative-medicine/about-us for more information
Medicine can do many things. It cures illness and relieves pain. It can extend life in dire circumstances. But as the leaders of Streetlight at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital know, medicine can’t play a video game with a child. Or paint a teenager’s nails. Or laugh over a good joke. A friend can be the most powerful source of support for a chronically ill adolescent or young adult. The Streetlight program provides support for children and young adults, ages 13 to 29, hospitalized with a variety of chronic illnesses, including cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, autoimmune illnesses, organ transplantation and other life-limiting illnesses. Streetlight’s team includes fully vetted, college-aged volunteers focused on building friendships through peer companionship. Volunteers and patients might play video games, play cards or just hang out together and talk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Streetlight has set up virtual gaming events, in addition to movie nights on a shared online platform and other activities.
Visit streetlight.ufhealth.org for more information.
UF Mobile Outreach Clinic
Consider it a doctor’s office on wheels. UF’s Mobile Outreach Clinic, part of the UF College of Medicine’s department of community health and family medicine, is an effective way to deliver health care to medically underserved people in income-challenged neighborhoods and rural areas of Alachua County. The “doctor’s office” is a large bus, with two exam rooms, a laboratory and waiting area. The mobile clinic operates five days a week (a schedule is posted at the link provided below) and provides a safety net for people without insurance and for those who have difficulty going to a traditional clinical setting. Services are free, and preventive health care and acute urgent care are provided by doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others, although staffing has been limited during the COVID-19 pandemic. The clinic promotes a culture of service at UF Health and a clinical educational experience for undergraduate volunteers, health professions students and medical residents within primary care specialties.
During the pandemic, patients are asked to call the clinic at 352-273-5329 before visiting. Please visit outreach.med.ufl.edu for more information.
Caring for Our Furry Neighbors, Too
The Veterinary Community Outreach Program, or VCOP, is an elective clinical rotation for junior and senior veterinary students at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. The service began in 2003 and is part of the UF Small Animal Hospital.
This program is designed to introduce students to the challenges of veterinary practice in shelter environments, and to provide handson surgical training in spay and neuter techniques of dogs, puppies, cats and kittens.
The importance of community involvement in reducing the number of unwanted pets in local animal shelters is a key component of the Veterinary Community Outreach Program.
Also based at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine is Operation Catnip of Gainesville, a nonprofit organization that offers free spay/ neuter services and vaccines for unowned, free-roaming cats in our community.
Visit ocgainesville.org to schedule an appointment or to volunteer.