“Angels” Serving the Homeless Population of Berkeley

“Angels” Serving the Homeless Population of Berkeley


The California Podiatric Medical Association salutes the student volunteers of the California School of Podiatric Medicine in their efforts to provide needed medical specialty care for the underserved

Since 1989, the Suitcase Clinic has been offering free health and social services to underserved populations. They have structured their organization around the principles of public health, social welfare, community activism and empathy. In addition, the Suitcase Clinic strives to educate students, promote health care access, engage in community organization, and support public policy efforts that address homelessness and the needs of the underserved in the local community. Since April 2014, students at the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) have embodied the principles of the Suitcase Clinic twice monthly as they volunteer at the Women’s Clinic in Berkeley. During the National Foot Health Awareness Month of April, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) would like to acknowledge these students and their service to the residents of California.

"[Their] presence has definitely made a difference,” states Bhaani Singh, co-coordinator of the Women’s Clinic in Berkeley, CA. “Every woman [they] have seen has said extraordinary things about [their] work. We have received no complaints and just lots of compliments. I don't know how many of these kind words are passed on to [them], but please know that [they] have been often labeled as 'angels,' 'life-savers,' and 'geniuses.'" The CSPM volunteers include 3rd, 2nd, and 1st year podiatric medical students and are supervised by a licensed podiatrist at each clinic. Some of the foot problems they have encountered so far include foot ulcerations, sinus tarsi syndrome, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis, and ankle sprains. Most importantly, they do routine diabetic foot checks, as many of women in the clinic do not have regular access to a podiatrist.

The funding for these students to volunteer was based on the generous donation from the American Podiatric Medical Student Association Corporate Advisory Board Service Grant. Not only do podiatric medical students perform a humanitarian service for their community but also they develop clinical and empathic skills needed as future doctors. “I hope that all students [who volunteer] find it worthwhile knowing that they made a positive impact on another person’s life,” says co-director and CSPM 2016 class president Stephanie Mita. “We hope to start expanding our efforts into the other clinics and provide meaningful treatment at the general clinic and to keep it going [after I graduate].”

Podiatric physicians are trained to treat the foot and ankle using nonsurgical or surgical treatments and can best inform patients on their options. CPMA member physicians are uniquely qualified among medical professionals, based on their education, training, and experience. To find a podiatric physician, go to CalPMA.org.

Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the leading and recognized professional organization for doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg.

CPMA, Keeping Californians on their Feet – Healthy, Active
and Productive!

2430 K Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, California 95816

(800) 794-8988 ● (916) 448-0248 ● Fax (916) 448-0258