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Free Podiatry Clinic at Centro Romero

      Sunscreen, check. Camera and sunglasses check. Scalpels, gloves and reference books, check. The last items may seem peculiar for a spring break vacation, but for a group of students from the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM), Samuel Merritt University (SMU), packing diagnostic and medical instruments will help provide foot care to uninsured residents of San Ysidro, a community in San Diego County. San Ysidro is home to Centro Romero and to the world’s busiest border crossing, where U.S. Interstate 5 crosses into Mexico at Tijuana.

     During the dates of April 7-9, 2011 Centro Romero will partner for the third consecutive year with the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM), Samuel Merritt University (SMU) to offer free foot exams and care to uninsured residents of San Ysidro.
 
     During three days, students from the California School of Podiatric Medicine will be conducting free foot exams as well as to sharing educational information in relation to foot care, physical activities and chronic conditions as diabetes. Our service target for this year (2011) is at least 400 primarily Spanish-speaking patients.
 
     “We want to focus on migrant population coming from border towns, because research shows those are places where healthcare is an issue,” says James Johnston, a fourth-year podiatry student. The 2011 podiatry clinic at Centro Romero is the third consecutive medical mission for SMU students led by Peter Barbosa , PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology and Director of Research. “Comprehensive foot care programs like ours can help reduce amputation,” said Dr. Barbosa.

     “We gave a lot of care, boosted the moral of an under-served community, and educated diabetic patients on the importance of good foot health and the risks associated with diabetes,” says Jeremy Evans, a second year DPM student. “We hope to get across the border next year and feel that this trip was a great preparation in getting across where there is a greater need for our care.”

     People who have diabetes are vulnerable to nerve and vascular damage that can result in
loss of protective sensation in the feet, poor circulation, and poor healing of foot ulcers. All of these conditions contribute to the high amputation rate in people with diabetes, but early identification of foot problems and early intervention to prevent problems from worsening can avert many amputations. Through Centro Romero yearly podiatry clinic we provide our constituency with the opportunity for a yearly exam as we know that it is recommended that people who have diabetes have their feet examined at least once a year by a trained health care professional.

     Every year we come away with a renewed sense of hope and appreciation for the benefits of a free clinic: reaching an underserved community; giving students hands-on experience; minimizing high expenses of care and offering ourselves the opportunity to continue building community in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

     The three-day podiatry clinic at Centro Romero is funded in part by the Scott Beamer Community Service grant, by the fundraising efforts of students of the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM), Samuel Merritt University and by the Daniel F. Romero Center for Border Ministries (Centro Romero).

     For more information contact us at 619-428-8700 or at correa@scncucc.org.

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