Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) began in Hilton Head, South Carolina. In the early 90s, one out of three people who lived on Hilton Head Island had no access to health care, a rate twice the national average. At the same time, retired medical personnel including physicians, nurses, dentists, expressed an interest in finding a way to continue practicing their profession on a voluntary, part-time basis to help those without access to medical care.
In 1994, under the leadership of founder Dr. Jack McConnell, the first Volunteers in Medicine Clinic opened. Word spread nationally about the success of the Hilton Head VIM clinic. In response to requests for assistance in replicating the VIM model, Dr. McConnell created a separate non-profit to assist interested communities in launching their own Volunteers in Medicine clinic.
Dr. McConnell was a tireless advocate for the uninsured and underserved. He was resolute in his belief that everyone deserves access to compassionate, quality health care. He recognized that bringing the community together to care for its neighbors improves not only the health of those who receive the care, but also the well-being and fulfillment of the care givers. He believed that people’s talents should be harnessed as they age, not wasted.
As a result of Dr. McConnell’s vision, there are now 89 Volunteers in Medicine free health care clinics in 28 states throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of people who were previously without a regular source of care have been treated and tens of thousands of volunteers have experienced the joy of serving.