Objective: Free or outreach clinics offer students the opportunity to work with diverse patient populations. The objective of this study was to describe the demographics and clinical characteristics of a sample of chiropractic patients at a free community-based clinic to assess clinical and educational opportunities for students to work with diverse populations, collaborate with other professions and practice health promotion through patient education.
Methods: This was a prospective, descriptive cross-sectional study conducted over 2 months. Data on demographics, health status, and health risks were collected from patients and their interns.
Results: Of the 158 patients, 50.6% were women and 50.6% African-American, while only 20.9% were employed full-time. Of the 24.7% tobacco users, 48.7% expressed interest in cessation. Of 80.0% overweight or obese patients, 48.8% expressed interest in weight loss. By self-report, 16.5% were diabetic, 10.1% took hypertension medication, 36.7% used prescription pain medication (9.4% opiate use), 33.5% used nonprescription pain medication, and 9.4% were under the care of a mental health professional.
Conclusion: This patient population is demographically diverse. A high proportion of patients who used tobacco, or were overweight or obese expressed interest in information on those topics. A substantial proportion reported being under care with a mental health professional. This clinic provides opportunities for students to work with diverse populations, collaborate with other professions, and practice health promotion.
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