CVS Health Provides Grant To Help Patients Stop Smoking


The CVS Foundation has recently awarded a one-year grant to the San Francisco Free Clinic to support a new comprehensive smoking cessation initiative.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Individuals who lack insurance have fewer opportunities to discuss stopping smoking with a healthcare provider and have limited access to therapies that can help them to be successful in quit attempts. SFFC estimates that 20% of our patients currently use nicotine products and a high proportion of those patients report interest in stopping smoking.

SFFC has implemented a new initiative that involves 1:1 motivational counseling, provision of resources including quit kits, nicotine replacement therapy, medications that assist individuals in quitting smoking, and other support including follow-up phone calls, a text-message based program, and 1:1 visits with a healthcare provider. CVS has provided a grant to support this initiative and donation of nicotine replacement products. SFFC will track patient engagement, patient quit attempts, and the number of successful quit attempts by patients. We are excited to offer this important service to our patient community! 

SFFC Volunteer Alumni Spotlight

Teaching and training the next generation of healthcare professionals is a core component of SFFC’s mission. For student volunteers, the clinic provides an excellent opportunity to experience hands-on, direct patient care and make a meaningful impact on the lives of others. This September, two of our “alumni” volunteers paid us a visit and shared a little bit about why SFFC holds a special place in their hearts and how it continues to inform their journeys in healthcare.

Amy Wang, 2nd year medical student at UCSF


When people ask me if there was a specific moment or experience that led me to know I wanted to pursue medicine, I always immediately think of my time as a volunteer at SFFC. Before then, although I did already want to be a doctor, it was simply a theoretical idea - not grounded in true experience of what being a doctor would really be like. But that changed after spending time in the clinic. Working with patients energized and inspired me to want to continue doing so for the rest of my career. My abstract aspiration to become a physician was solidified by my experiences at SFFC.

What I love so much about SFFC is what a truly caring and encouraging environment it is; not only is that apparent in its mission and patient care, but it is also manifested in its commitment to teaching its volunteers and students. I was blessed to have the opportunity to be part of such a hands-on learning environment. Now in my second year of medical school at UCSF, I know I will continue to carry the experiences and lessons I've learned at SFFC with me throughout my medical education and training. It is really a one-of-a-kind place, and I am endlessly grateful to all the patients, providers, and staff at the clinic who have taught me so much!


Kyle Woolley, 2nd year RN at Kaiser SF


My time at the SFFC not only helped me choose a path that would shape the rest of my working life, but the SFFC itself is special. The dedicated staff, the clinic's mission and purpose, and the learning opportunities one gets as a volunteer MA there are priceless. I went into nursing school way ahead of the game of my classmates. (Plus, the connections and experience you get from the SFFC helped tremendously when applying to nursing school.) Also, the provider-patient relationship building was another terrific part of being there--getting to know patients who you see regularly not only contributes to continuity of care but it builds trust. It was really a wonderful opportunity to lay a foundation for learning the skills and getting experience from top-notch, high quality professionals. I am really grateful for my 1.5 years there and what I learned that I'll carry with me throughout my career. It's truly amazing what the SFFC does not just for future healthcare providers they teach, but ultimately the community they serve.

Kyle’s advice for those interested in pursuing a career in the health professions:

Get volunteer experience, try things out. It's hard, stressful, demanding work...and the stakes are high so make sure it's something you've gotten a good taste of before you go through school, etc. You'll be dealing not just with people's physical ailments, but their mental anguish and anxiety that accompanies a threat to one's health or life (and their families' concerns and demands as well). The learning curve is incredibly steep and like any new job, you'll be out of your comfort zone for a while. That is very normal! It’s important to remember you always have staff with you for help and in time it becomes more familiar. Even after a bad shift I can leave and know that what I did was purposeful. Don't forget, there are SO many avenues one can take in medicine and you will never stop learning.

Flu Shot Donations Received

The medical supply company McKesson has donated 70 doses of flu vaccine to give SFFC a leg-up on vaccinating our patients and staff for this fall's flu season. We're grateful for their generosity in helping us work towards universal vaccination!


McKesson is the oldest and largest health care company in the nation, serving more than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals and 20 percent of physicians. McKesson delivers one-third of all medications used daily in North America with operations in more than 16 countries.

SFFC Staff Participate in the Napa Valley Tour de Cure

On May 7, a team of riders from the San Francisco Free Clinic participated in the American Diabetes Association’s Napa Valley Tour De Cure.

This year marked the sixth time staff members raced to show support for the cause of fighting diabetes.

Dr. tricia gibbs gets ready for 50 miles

Dr. tricia gibbs gets ready for 50 miles

Thank you so much to the individuals who generously donated this year and helped us reach our fundraising goal. We could not have done it without you!



The Team Takes the Finish Line

The Team Takes the Finish Line

Volunteer Specialists Needed

As we enter a new time of uncertainty in America's healthcare milieu, SFFC is putting out a call to recruit more volunteer MD specialists.

Volunteering at the SF Free Clinic reminds me of why I decided to become a doctor.
— Dr. Jonah Mullens, Volunteer Podiatrist

SFFC's model for volunteer specialists has always been simple: "ask for a little from many, and keep the paperwork to a minimum."

Typically, volunteer specialists provide one or two one-time consultations per month, without ever having to leave their own offices. Dr. Jan Hansen has been volunteering at SFFC for fifteen years.

I can’t imagine not being a part of the SF Free Clinic. The patients, staff, students, and volunteers all work together to provide outstanding, compassionate, evidence-based care.
— Dr. Jan Hansen, Volunteer Ob/Gyn

We are in need of specialists in many fields, particularly:

  • Allergy
  • Dermatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Neurology
  • Podiatry
  • Urology

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact our specialist liaison Dr. Daniel Chrobak. Call us at 415-750-9087, or simply stop by to visit!

SFFC Volunteer Awarded Nursing Scholarship



Long-time SFFC volunteer Lexie Martin, a nursing student at University of South Dakota, received a $1500 scholarship from the John Vucurevich Foundation towards her nursing education.

In her application essay, Lexie wrote about her childhood memories of volunteering at the SF Free Clinic, where her mom Paula Martin serves as clinic manager.

Lexie volunteered nearly every summer at SFFC and plans on getting a Masters in Nursing.

Visit from National Association of Free Clinics

NAFC Vice President Kerry Thompson and SFFC Medical Director Lily Huang

NAFC Vice President Kerry Thompson and SFFC Medical Director Lily Huang

In 2016, the San Francisco Free Clinic received a $3000 grant from CVS to fund an evening clinic. SFFC learned about this grant opportunity from the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC).

NAFC Vice President Kerry Thompson came to visit the clinic this week, and observed how SFFC increased access for working uninsured patients through initiation of a weekly evening clinic.

Former SFFC Volunteer Tiffany Chan Attends Annual Luncheon

Former SFFC Volunteer Tiffany Chan and SFFC Staffer

Former SFFC Volunteer Tiffany Chan and SFFC Staffer

This year I had the pleasure of attending the SFFC annual luncheon five years after leaving SFFC for medical school. I started as a back-office volunteer in 2009 and was amazed at how effectively the clinic served the community.

After finishing medical school and starting residency, I have an even greater appreciation for the clinic. It still thrives and has expanded services to include wellness and preventative care. Volunteers even participate in clinical case discussions. This will give them a great educational advantage when entering medical school. 

Volunteering for two years at SFFC helped shape decisions I made for myself in medicine. Now I am a resident in Emergency Medicine at a "safety net" hospital in Newark, New Jersey.

Much like SFFC, which is the "safety net" clinic for San Francisco, my hospital cares for these patients in Newark. I am proud to continue this work -- which was cultivated at SFFC as a volunteer -- now as a resident physician in the Emergency Department.

Tiffany Chan, M.D.

For more about Tiffany Chan's unusual journey to becoming a doctor, click here.

Former Volunteer Jimmy Choi Stops by for a Visit

Former volunteer jimmy choi with sffc Staffers 

Former volunteer jimmy choi with sffc Staffers 

Former SFFC volunteer and staffer Jimmy Choi stopped by for a visit earlier this week. Jimmy began volunteering at the clinic in late 1999 and joined the staff about a year later. 

Jimmy worked at SFFC until he was accepted into medical school at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2002. Jimmy graduated in 2006 and did his residency in emergency medicine at NYU/Bellevue in New York City from 2006-2010. 

Currently, Jimmy currently works as a physician in the Emergency Department at Kaiser San Francisco. 


SFFC To Honor Donors and Volunteers

The San Francisco Free Clinic will honor its donors and volunteers at its twenty-third annual luncheon on November 10, 2016, at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton. 

Without our volunteers and donors, the clinic simply could not exist. We look forward to honoring them on November 10.

If you are interested in sponsoring the clinic at this luncheon ($250 per plate), please contact Paula Martin, our clinic manager.

Honorary Committee

Barbara and Gerson Bakar
Janice and Matt Barger
Nancy and Joachim Bechtle
Jeanne D. Benatar
Courtney Benoit and Jason Fish
Robert A. Bernhard
Rena Bransten
Susie and Mark Buell
Susan and Mitchell Cohen
Lauren and Alan Dachs
Senator Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blum
Lynn Feintech and Anthony Bernhardt
Doris and Don* Fisher
Sakurako and William Fisher
Elise and Tully M. Friedman
Phyllis Friedman
Sissy and Ted Geballe
Isabelle Georgeaux and Patrick Healy
Colleen and Robert Haas
Evelyn and Walter Haas*
Mimi and Peter* Haas
Kathryn A. Hall and Tom Knutsen
Stephanie and Jim Harleen
Alicia and Philip Hammarskjold
Frances Hellman and Warren Breslau
Judith Hellman, MD
Sabrina and Mick Hellman
Sandra Hernandez, MD
Myna and Uri Herscher
Ingrid and Reuben* Hills
Mrs. Jaquelin Hume*
Leslie and George Hume
Lucy and Fritz* Jewett
Gretchen B. and William* Kimball
Georgia Lee and George Shenk
Maryon Davies Lewis

George Lucas
Meghan Mackey and Allen Thorpe
Jennifer and Brian* Maxwell
Susan and JB McIntosh
Susan and Herb* McLaughlin
Phyllis and Stuart* Moldow
Meridee Moore and Kevin King
Jonathan Nelson
Karen and Joe Niehaus
Susan and Bill Oberndorf
Barbro and Bernard Osher
Meredith and John Pasquesi
Liebe and Bill* Patterson
Paula and Brian Powers
Mr.* and Mrs. Irving Rabin
Kendra and Erik Ragatz
Barbara Ravizza and John Osterweis
Toni Rembe and Arthur Rock
Barbara and Richard Rosenberg
Louise and Claude Rosenberg*
Frank Sander
Marion* and Herbert Sandler
Helen and Charles Schwab
Gail and Robert Smelick
Jean and Michael Strunsky
Roselyn C. Swig
Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer
Mary Tiscornia
Marjorie and Barry Traub
Susan and David Tunnell
Janet Barnes and Thomas Weisel
Dede and Al* Wilsey
Jane Witter and Fred Delanoy
Diane and Howard Zack
Jan and Jonathan Zakin

*In memoriam

Special Thanks

We'd like to offer our special thanks to the following for helping us host this event:

Pam Moore
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
Laurence Jossel (Nopa and Nopalito)
Melissa Perello (Octavia and Frances)
Arielle Giusto and Nathan Yanko (MH Bread and Butter)
Staffan Terje (Volta and Perbacco)
Gabriela Camara (Cala and Tacos Cala)
Andrea Correa (Ritz-Carlton San Francisco)
Trefethen Vineyards
Martinelli Sparkling Cider

SFFC Staff Rides Tour de Cure

On May 1, riders from the San Francisco Free Clinic—staff, friends, and board members—completed the Tour de Cure in Napa, California, raising nearly $18,000 for diabetes research on behalf of the American Diabetes Association.