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HAVEN Free Clinic Run/Walk Raises Funds and Builds Community

October 16, 2019

HAVEN Free Clinic volunteers and patients usually are at 800 Howard Avenue in New Haven on Saturdays, from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. But on Sunday morning, October 6, members of the HAVEN community and their supporters gathered in New Haven’s Edgewood Park. The reason: the sixth annual ¡ANDA! 5K Run/Walk, which raises about 70% percent of the clinic’s yearly budget. To date, $35,000 has been raised, significantly surpassing the goal of $25,000. 

More than 250 people registered for the race and 190 participated, several with dogs tagging along, either running or walking on a route that wove through Edgewood Park, up past the Yale Bowl, and circled back to the starting point. Volunteers and friends cheered the participants along the way, adding to the festive atmosphere, in support of an important cause.  

HAVEN, a student-run primary care clinic established in 2005, partners with Yale University to provide free comprehensive primary care services to members of the New Haven community who are between 18-65 years and do not have health insurance. Its name reflects its home city, and also isan acronym for health care, advocacy, volunteerism, education, and neighborhood.

The clinic offers a wide range of services beyond primary care, including reproductive health care, social services, and education on such topics such as nutrition and smoking cessation. Patients at HAVEN have access to a pharmacy that supplies medications at no cost, as well as free laboratory services. Additionally, HAVEN helps to connect patients to free specialty care, and also guides eligible patients through the health insurance enrollment process. Last year, HAVEN cared for over 500 community members, who made around 1200 visits to the clinic during the year.  

Students from across Yale volunteer at the clinic in wide range of roles, such as interpreting, insurance counseling, wellness education, and working in the pharmacy. However only medical, physician associate, and nursing students are qualified for clinical, reproductive health, and laboratory positions. Over 450 students from the Yale health professional schools, Yale Law School, the graduate school, and Yale College volunteered at HAVEN last year. Additionally, 30 doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants faculty devote time to supervise the students. 

The diversity of volunteers was reflected at the ¡ANDA! 5K Run/Walk, with participants coming from across Yale and the broader New Haven community. Many created or joined one of 21 teams, which banded together to raise funds. The HAVEN alumni team was the top fundraiser, at $1,735. In addition to many Yale-affiliated teams, HAVEN patients had a team, as well as several community friends such as Teach for America and Albertus Magnus College.  

To encourage donations, the promotional materials articulated the benefits of each dollar donated. Twenty five dollars pays for oneblood test, $50 for one hepatitis B vaccine, $165 covers a comprehensive patient visit, and $439 would support the care of one HAVEN patient for an entire year.

Over 25 sponsors bolstered the fundraising efforts, including generous support from Caffe Bravo, Executive Cleaners, Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School, Yale’s Graduate & Professional Student Senate, Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs, and the Yale School of Public Health. Trang Tran, MPH ’20, who co-organized the ¡ANDA! 5K Run/Walk along with Yale College student Justin Du, noted that HAVEN’sSustainability and Development Committee’s dedication and hard work made the event a success.

Tran also expressed her gratitude to everyone who made a donation, explaining, "I got involved with HAVEN because I firmly believe in its mission of serving the community and providing access to comprehensive care for uninsured residents. Health care costs can be a huge burden and it gives me joy to know that the work we do can relieve that burden for our patients. One of my roles as director of finance and development at HAVEN Free Clinic is to oversee all fundraising efforts, which is really rewarding when I see the level of support from Yale and the community."

Submitted by Abigail Roth on October 18, 2019