Shade Tree Clinic and Shade Tree Trot

Shade Tree Clinic

The Shade Tree Clinic is a medical student-run free clinic serving underinsured and uninsured patients in one of Nashville’s neediest communities. The clinic was founded in 2005 by several medical students who conducted a medical needs analysis of underserved Nashville neighborhoods for their Emphasis research project. Since then, Shade Tree has evolved from an acute care clinic to a comprehensive medical home for approximately 400 patients. The clinic is open on Tuesdays from 6-9 pm and Saturdays from 12-4 pm. We also host several specialty clinics on Saturday mornings from 8am-12pm, including an early pregnancy clinic (STEPP), neurology clinic, and physical therapy clinic. We typically handle 20-40 patients per clinic session. Last year we had nearly 2000 office visits, where we were able to provide medications, medical specialty services, social service support, dietary and chronic care counseling, legal referrals, and more all free-of-charge! The clinic is staffed by volunteer medical students and physicians from Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College, with assistance from undergraduate students and community volunteers. Typically, we pair clinical students with underclassmen on teams to take the patient’s history, conduct a physical exam, and present their findings and impressions to an attending physician. In this manner, volunteering at Shade Tree provides students with opportunities for community service and hands-on clinical experience in a very student-friendly, team-oriented environment. There is a great need for talented and dedicated people to work to improve public health, and we hope that you will see Shade Tree as an opportunity to do so.

If you would like more information, please check out

Ways to be involved:

Sign up as a medical student volunteer (it’s a great way to learn!).

Interpret if you’re bilingual (particularly in Spanish).

Apply to be a Clinic Coordinator, Patient Health Educator, Social Worker, Pharmacist, or Finance Manager.

Help advocate for patient needs and accompany patients to Vanderbilt for outside appointments as a Patient Health Educator.

Propose a new idea that you think will benefit the Shade Tree community.

Student Directors for 2013: Nick Harris (VMS II) and Taylor Triana (VMS II)

Medical Directors: Robert Miller, MD and Michael Fowler, MD

The Annual Shade Tree Trot

The Shade Tree Trot is an exciting and important end-of-the-year event for Vanderbilt Medical School! Similar to the College Cup in the fall, the Trot is the major Advisory College event in the spring with remarkably high medical student participation. By combining friendly competition with a unique service project, it serves to unify the colleges to benefit the Clinic we all hold so dear.

The Shade Tree Trot is a major annual fundraising event to benefit the Shade Tree Clinic that has come to involve the entire Vanderbilt medical center. The 5k run/jog/walk around Vanderbilt’s campus takes place in the spring after SFD and Cadaver Ball. This past year, there were over 600 registrants for an event that raised over $21,000! The Trot not only contributes to the Clinic’s operating budget, but helps increase awareness for the underserved patients that have come to rely on us.

There are numerous opportunities to get involved- from simply running and fundraising, to volunteering race day or even taking on a yearlong leadership role. You will hear more about the various leadership opportunities the Trot offers in the fall, so please consider getting involved!