Volunteers in Medicine Institute
In 1991, Dr. Jack McConnell founded a free health care facility that recruited retired physicians to treat uninsured people in Hilton Head, South Carolina. From this initial project sprung the Volunteers in Medicine Institute (VIMI), which has helped to establish 86 additional VIM clinics in 25 states.
VIMI facilities form a loose alliance that treat more than 100,000 patients during some 400,000 visits every year. While VIMI health centers vary in scope from part-time, walk-in clinics to full-time, full-service practices – urban and rural – they all share a common philosophy of using volunteer clinicians to provide free health care services to low-income, uninsured individuals. While there is no corporate or financial relationship among the health centers, the shared mission and values are what binds VIMI members together.
In 2004, collaborative work by a dedicated group of doctors, business people and community volunteers established Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires. VIM Berkshires became the 30th VIM facility nationally, the first in New England and is still the only one in Massachusetts.
VIM Berkshires notable milestones
- December 2014: Therapeutic massage services added
- August 2014: Cumulative fundraising exceeds $5,000,000
- March, 2012: 25,000 clinical volunteer hours
- March 2011: Patient visits surpass 10,000
- January 2010: In-house acupuncture and nutritional counseling services added
- September, 2009: Free prescription medications surpass $100,000
- December, 2008: Value of contributed clinical services surpasses $1,000,000
- October, 2007: In-house optometry services added
- August, 2007: Cumulative fundraising exceeds $1,000,000
- June, 2007: Medical and dental services each surpass 1000 patient visits
- May, 2007: Clinic space increased by 50%, second dental suite added
- February, 2005: First dental patient
- December, 2004: First medical patient
- January, 2003: Preliminary discussions begin