Ithaca Free Clinic
On this page I would like to acquaint readers to the Ithaca Free Clinic. It is an important aspect to my life as an herbalist, and I would like to speak about what I am learning here and invite discussions about how other herbalists can be part of similar organizations
IFC Herbalist's Room
Along with writing about the Ithaca Free Clinic, I hope that this information will help others who are interested in bringing herbal medicine into free clinics. I feel it is important to start a forum of ideas to help each other distribute ideas and supplies amongst the different free clinics already operating and those opening up.
Each initial session is approximately 45-60 minutes long. At one point the patient will be asked to wait in the waiting room while we prepare the herbal medicine. They will then be called back in, given the medicines, and go over the directions on how to prepare and take them in detail.
Follow up visits may be shorter depending on what is involved. If refills of any of the medicines are needed, the patient can either bring them in then, or better, drop them off with the clinic coordinator (Sadie Hays) and she will leave them for me to fill. This saves a lot of time and is appreciated. Also, if you can bring in the original bottle, this is helpful too.
IFC Waiting Room
To see myself or any holistic practitioner, you have to make an appointment. You do not need to make an appointment to see a doctor. The reason for this is that the holistic practitioners generally only see 4-6 clients per four-hour shift, due to the amount of time we spend per patient.
To make an appointment call 607-330-1254 and leave a message if no one is at the office. Please leave your phone number (you can ask that we not leave a message on your phone) so that we can confirm the appointment. We do this as each no-show affects the many people who tried but could not get an appointment
If you know that you cannot come, please call as soon as you can so we can schedule someone else. If you miss two appointments, you will not be rescheduled for a certain amount of time. We do this in the name of fairness to other patients.
My weekly schedule is can be found on the IFC dates for 7Song page
My Role(s) at the Ithaca Free Clinic
I have had a number of roles at the free clinic. I got involved about 1 year before the doors opened, and as with the early days of many organizations, each of us had a number of jobs. I have always been involved with the holistic aspects of the clinic. In the beginning there were 3 clinical herbalists (currently I am the only one), and we met irregularly to discuss the various aspects of how to bring western herbalism to the clinic as well as other holistic medicines. We had an abiding concern about ethics, integration and supplies. Some of our questions were; how do we discern who will practice at the clinic, how to work with medical personal without being subordinate, and how to get donations. There were many others questions, and most continue to be asked.
The aspects that I have not involved myself with concerned integration with local medical facilities, grant writing, physical space, statistics gathering, coordinating office volunteers, and recruiting medical staff.
I have stayed intimately involved with the clinic most of this time. Currently I am on the Operations Committee (general organization and ongoing details), Director of Holistic Medicine (working with various holistic practices, coordinating when needed) and a clinical practitioner of western herbal medicine. I also give talks in the community discussing the various aspects of holistic medicine.
A Thank You for Donations
I would like to sincerely thank all the people, organizations and businesses that have contributed to the herbalists at the Ithaca Free Clinic. It really means a lot to me personally and to the patients we serve. So thank you again and again.
If you are reading this and would like to contribute, contact me here to begin the conversation.
Again, thank you for helping us serve those seeking herbal medicine.
- American Herbalist Guild-for a $1000 grant
- Mountain Rose Herbs
- Pacific Botanicals
- Traditional Medicinals
- Greenstar Food Coop
- Simpler's Botanical Co.