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Discover Fauquier August 2018
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Executive director Rob Marino began
his tenure at the
Fauquier Free Clinic
in January of 2000. "It has evolved a lot
since I started, and especially since it
opened in 1993," he says. "At fi rst, our
volunteers outnumbered the patients--
we served just four people in our fi rst
week. Things have defi nitely changed."
The numbers don't lie: In 2017, some
2,100 patients from Fauquier and
Rappahannock counties visited the
clinic about 8,000 times to receive free
general care as well as dental and
mental health services. While some
of the staff providing care are paid,
most volunteer, and the clinic relies on
community awareness and generosity
in order to offer quality health care to
uninsured families. Community support,
however, has never been a problem
for this grassroots, volunteer-driven
nonprofi t program.
Before he joined the clinic, Rob earned
his master's degree in social work. At
that time, he remembers, the thought of
leading the charge on fundraising efforts
to support those in need felt unspeakably
daunting. "I didn't think I'd be very good
at that kind of thing, but it turns out I was
intimidated for no reason," he says. "This
community has always come through for
us."
Each time the clinic has outgrown a
building or needed additional nurses,
doctors, dentists, or medical equipment
and supplies, help has appeared. In
2014, in what was perhaps its most
signifi cant and ambitious transformation,
the clinic was not only able to move into
a larger space to better serve a growing
patient base, but expanded its services
to include mental health care. "There
is no way to separate mental health
concerns from your overall health," Rob
says. "The need has always existed."
These adaptations were made possible
by a partnership with the then Fauquier
Fauquier Free Clinic
Celebrates 25 Years of
Health Care for the Uninsured
Health Foundation,
now the PATH
Foundation. An
"Under One Roof"
capital campaign
raised over $1.5
million to purchase
and transform a
larger space and
supply care providers
with necessary
equipment. "Prior to
our expansion and
inclusion of mental
health care services, patients were
trying to get mental health needs met by
general practitioners because they had
nowhere else to go," says Rob. "Now
they can speak to someone with the
appropriate level of skill and training."
What's more, the shame and
embarrassment that may have
prevented patients from seeking help
in the past has been removed under
this arrangement. A consultation with
a mental health professional happens
in the same building one would visit to
have a toothache examined or a fl u shot
administered; to the outside world, it
looks as if a person is simply going to
the doctor. Considering the stigma that
has so long been associated with mental
health, one might call the breaking of
this particular barrier a revolution in
American health care.
Rob credits the kindness of a gracious
community with the uninterrupted
success of the Fauquier Free Clinic.
"This is a nice place to live," he says.
"People look out for each other here.
If the free clinic wasn't here to serve
uninsured patients, their alternatives
would shrink or disappear. I think people
recognize that, and they won't let it
happen."
The rate of uninsured people in Fauquier
and Rappahannock regions is currently
around 11%. Though this number may
seem low, Rob declares it's a hidden
need. "We have 25 years to prove it,"
he says. "We help one person at a time,
and it adds up to a lot."
To mark a quarter-century serving the
community, the Fauquier Free Clinic
is hosting a celebration in October
that will be open to the public. To learn
more about the celebration, volunteer
opportunities, or about eligibility for care,
call
(540) 347-0394.
~ Caitlin Scott
Rob Marino, Lacey Adams, Megan Cree, Erin Salzman,
Stephanie Weber & Mallory McReynolds