MADISON (WKOW)-- With so many people losing their jobs over the last couple of years having healthcare coverage is not a given.
So what do you do if you get sick? One option is called MEDiC. It's student-run and doctor led. We meet one of those physicians who volunteers his own time to help others.
It makes Dr. Doug Dulli this month's Jefferson Award recipient.
Dr. Doug Dulli is a Neurologist at UW-Hospital. He's been there for 17 years.
"I think it is a gift to be able to practice medicine," said Dr. Dulli
But today he's not at the UW or seeing his usual patients. He's teaching medical students.
"They're enthusiastic too and we feed off each other that way," said Dr. Dulli.
MEDiC is a University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health program. It's a student-run, free clinic. The program offers free medical care for people who do not have insurance. But it also gives Med students real hands-on experience.
Stephanie Ziebarth is a 1st year medical student.
"We obviously can't treat the patients but we are building our skills and seeing how we can make a difference in the community with those skills," said Stephanie.
MEDiC started in the 1990's. Today there are 7 clinics around Madison and along with the need, the program continues to grow.
"I never come away from this clinic without the students teaching me stuff," said Dr. Dulli.
Patients have a wide variety of backgrounds but have a lot in common.
"Very desperate circumstances for many of the patients but almost uniformly grateful," said Dr. Dulli.
Here at the South Side clinic, 99% of the nearly 800 patients do not have insurance. MEDiC works because area doctors, like Dr. Dulli, volunteer to oversee the students.
"It's very habit forming," said Dr. Dulli. "Once I started to do it the more I did it the more I enjoyed it so why cut back."
Dr. Dulli started volunteering in 1997.
"I get much more than I give and I think anyone who does this would agree with that," said Dr. Dulli.
Dr. Dulli isn't the only one volunteering, the students donate their time as well.
"Dr. Dulli is a really good role model for us," said Stephanie. He really takes the time to explain things. You can see in his patient encounters he's a really kind person and he takes time to talk to the patients. So, I think for all of us he's a really good person we can look up to and learn a lot from."
"You take away the feeling that first of all you have accomplished something," said Dr. Dulli. "But also you have had fun doing it. You have actually used the gift that you were given and give it back."
MEDiC opens its doors not only because of the volunteering doctors and students but also because of donations.