Local medical students, organizations prepare to help less fortunate

Second annual Community Care Collaborative event, doors open at 8 a.m.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Nick Battaglia is a second-year medical student at Liberty University. On Saturday, at the Salvation Army in Lynchburg, he and several of his classmates will team up with organizations to help those who are in most need.

"Being experienced, knowing the diseases' processes, knowing how things work now, I have a much better understanding of what could be wrong with the patient, how to better treat them, what tests need to be done," Battaglia said.

For the second year in a row, the medical students will be a part of the Community Care Collaboration providing free medical care, such as testing for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, eye and dental exams and manicures and pedicures.

"Last year was truly eye-opening. I think it's part of the reason I want to become a physician and came to LUCOM (Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine), because there's a chance to serve (the) underserved population,"  Battaglia said.

Organizers said students get the real-life experience of working on a patient, but the client is the true winner because they gain a positive relationship with their provider and will have a doctor to call for follow-up appointments.

"So it's important for us that in order for us to care about our health care, we must know first that our doctors do care about us. Nobody wants to go to that doctor they don't like to spend time with," said James Cook, director of clinical collaboration and education and LUCOM.

Doors will open at 8 a.m. at the Lynchburg Salvation Army on 2215 Park Avenue.