VIM internship program expands its professional reach

In keeping with a trend toward patient support that meets the needs of the whole patient, Volunteers In Medicine has launched a social work internship program in partnership with Portland State University.

As part of its Youth Recruitment and Training Program, VIM works with several professional programs in pharmacy, counseling, and now social work. Students volunteer at VIM, earning credit and meeting the requirements of their program, with direct supervision and evaluation from certified professionals.

Lori Dunnihoo, a Master of Social Work student, is VIM’s first social work intern, volunteering 16 hours at VIM, and going to class a full day on Friday.

“VIM is a very forward-thinking model, by combining mental health, medical care, and community outreach,” Lori says.

Lori sought out VIM in her last year of school, having interned previously with ShelterCare and SafeHaven.

“There are a lot of things that cause illness — stress, lack of food,” Lori says, or contribute to the exacerbation of medical conditions, including a lack of transportation or storage for medicines.

“There can be ways that patients are living that affect their medical condition,” Lori says. “This position connects people with their community, supporting access to other services that provide” for their other needs.

Ben is one of the Pharmacy doctorate students this year who did a rotation at VIM to fulfill his degree requirement. In Ben’s case, VIM was his last stop, his final step in a journey that started with VIM as a volunteer window technician in the dispensary as an undergraduate and ended with a rotation at VIM to complete his doctoral degree.