PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE

Many dedicated professionals, both retired and active, volunteer their time to treat low-income patients at Friendship Centers’ medical and dental clinics in Sarasota and Venice. But more are desperately needed to meet the demand.

Currently, both campuses are seeking rheumatologists, dermatologists, orthopedists, podiatrists, a diabetes educator and an optician or glasses fitter. Volunteer needs in Venice include:  an endocrinologist, dentists and dental assistants. The Sarasota dental clinic is looking for dental hygienists, front desk and clerical help.

Doctors, dentists and other volunteers at our clinics find that the rewards of caring for needy patients are great. No one is turned away. Over 70 percent of our patients are uninsured and pay on a sliding fee scale. At least 50 percent pay nothing.

Retired physicians from other states who wish to volunteer may apply to become Limited License Medical Doctors under Florida law. With this license, they may practice only at an Area of Critical Need Facility, such as our clinics, and treat only patients who meet the state Department of Health low-income eligibility guidelines.

Friendship Centers founder Brother William Geenen was instrumental in the creation of the limited license in the 1970s, persuading then-Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Legislature to approve it. We also have a health clinic in Lee County, and in Collier County we operate the Senior Friendship Health Center.

Get more information and apply for a limited license at flboardofmedicine.gov/licensing/limited-license-medical-doctor.

To volunteer at a Friendship Centers clinic, contact Robert Rogers, director of community outreach, at 941.556.3223 or rrogers@friendshipcenters.org.