Shade Tree Clinic is committed to quality improvement and community-oriented research aimed at improving our ability to provide thorough, high-quality care to underinsured and uninsured individuals while building evidence that the student-run clinic model can improve outcomes and lives.


Shade Tree Clinic’s genetic counseling program makes it distinct among student-run free clinics nationwide and offers an example for others to follow in expanding access to genetic counseling and preventative care services in underserved populations, as published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling

Shade Tree Clinic is one of the few student-run clinics in the country to feature a fully functioning dispensary that is able to provide the vast majority of medications to our patients at their clinic visit free of charge. The innovative system that allows this to happen was published in the journal Informatics for Health and Social Care.

Shade Tree’s innovative model of providing access to prenatal care to underinsured and uninsured patients was published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health.

Our Patient Health Educator model was shown to improve clinical outcomes for patients with diabetes as measured by improved hemoglobin A1c. This research was published in Academic Medicine, the premier medical education journal.

Access to costly medications in student-run free clinics is very limited. To overcome this challenge of providing expensive though necessary medications to our patients, we have an organized team of volunteers who reach out to pharmaceutical companies and facilitate access to these medications for free through Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs). We have enabled PAP enrollments for 59 different drugs from 19 companies and our system was presented at the Society of Student-Run Free Clinics conference.

    • Advancing access to medications in an uninsured patient population through a team dedicated to Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs). Shiuan E, Xie C, White-Dzuro C, Mendoza K, Ewing J, Weaver E, Fowler M, Miller R

With the help of the Vanderbilt community, Shade Tree connects patients to much needed hand surgeries. This provides educational opportunities for students and life-changing procedures for patients.

In 2017-2019, Shade Tree piloted two general surgery specialty clinics and developed a streamlined process for referring patients for procedures and operations at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

A 2020 student-led cross-sectional study of Shade Tree patients identified characteristics associated with emergency department use and was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Shade Tree provides mental health services directly in clinic, as well as by facilitating referrals to community resources. A student-led study of the characteristics of patients receiving mental health care and the needs those patients identified was published in 2020.

Our patients have access to fresh, local produce weekly thanks to donations from the community. A student-led study examining the experiences of instigating and planning this effort was published in the Journal of Student-Run Clinics in 2022.

    • Nguyen C, McKeon M, Ufuah S, et. al. Experiences with a Student-Run, In-Clinic Food Donation Program for Uninsured Patients in Nashville. J Student-Run Clinics. 2022