OM in the News

Occupy Medical: “The community begged us to ‘please come back'”

The free clinic is staffed by volunteers including doctors, nurses, nutritionists and medical students. Occupy Medical says they not only offer care to uninsured patients, but they treat those with insurance who have trouble with timely care or can’t afford to miss work.

Recently, Occupy Medical set up a demonstration clinic in Roseburg. Clinic Manager Sue Sierralupe says they did this to show other communities that these services are needed.

“The community begged us to please come back,” said Sierralupe. “We’re talking since there are some limited resources down there, working with another community to kind of share their providers back and forth so they can at least have a monthly or seasonal clinic. The sky is the limit at this point.”

Eugene mobile clinic brings medical services to Roseburg

“It’s for anybody,” said Foster, who volunteers with the Eugene-based group. “But obviously quite a few of our people are homeless, or they might have OHP (Oregon Health Plan), and it may just be hard for them to get to their assigned doctor because of transportation issues.”

Foster said they also serve some people that have health insurance but face a high deductible.

Occupy Medical travels to several rural locations around southwest Oregon including Coos Bay and Florence. They were invited to come to Roseburg by Feed the Burg, an organization that feeds people at Eagles Park across the street from the First Presbyterian Church each Saturday. Clinic organizers plan to make Roseburg a regular stop on their schedule.

Occupy Medical offering flu shots to public at Washington Jefferson Park

EUGENE, Ore. – For some, having the flu means spending a few days in bed. But for those living on the street, having the flu could be life threatening.
That is why “Occupy Medical” is urging the public to get vaccinated this year.

Their clinic manager says everyone is welcome to get a free flu shot from their mobile clinic at Washington Jefferson Park in Eugene.

Occupy Medical relocates in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. – A mobile health facility in Eugene is still offering care to those who need access to medical care, but in a different place.

Occupy Medical relocated to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street after the previous location’s landlord sold the place.

The free clinic is staffed by volunteers including doctors, nurses, nutritionists and medical students. Occupy Medical says they not only offer care to uninsured patients, but they treat those with insurance who have trouble with timely care or can’t afford to miss work.

The People’s Clinic
How a team of volunteers is filling a medical void for Eugene’s most vulnerable.

Sue Sierralupe, manager of the Occupy Medical Clinic, pauses to pet a patient’s dog. The clinic provides a variety of services, including veterinary care for pets.

“We make sure everyone is taken care of,” Sierralupe said. “There are people that Occupy Medical is all they’ve got. Without it, they’d die.”

A unique aspect of Occupy Medical is that it’s operated and funded entirely by volunteers, which helps them keep their services free. Doctors, nurses and concerned community members come together once a week to work as an integrated medical care unit. This means they can treat wounds and diseases, refill prescriptions, provide mental health and support services, distribute clothes and even give haircuts, all at no cost.

Flux Magazine Occupy Medical 

Not a One Night Stand: Wildcrafting in Lane County

Sue Sierralupe stands on the trail, looking into the creek-side trees and brush. “Poor man’s opium,” she says, pointing into the brambles at some wild lettuce (Lactuca serriola). Sierralupe explains that the lactucarium, the latex or sap of the plant, can help with pain.

As herb team leader and clinic manager of the free all-volunteer Occupy Medical, Sierralupe says the plant is sometimes given to homeless patients who might be targeted for attacks if given prescription painkillers. Wild lettuce is not related to opium, but for those on the street, whose painkilling drugs might be stolen and sold, the plant is a valuable alternative.

Occupy Medical Clinic: ‘You just serve people because people deserve care’

A Eugene mobile clinic has become the first line of defense in helping people.
Even during Summer, the Occupy Medical Clinic never stops. It first started with the Occupy Wall Street movement several years ago. Now they treat people who can’t get help on their own.
Occupy Medical says it’s services save the community thousands of dollars. But more importantly, it’s the thousands of lives they save every week.

Housing First for Homeless: Housing First for HomelessAdvocates weigh in on a housing complex to be built near Lane County Behavioral Health

Sue Sierralupe, clinic manager of the free medical service Occupy Medical, says she commonly hears people say, “if you build it, they will come,” but, she says, we need to dispel that myth.

“If you build a hospital, yes, sick people will come, but they will come for the services and leave healthy and well,” Sierralupe says. “The thing that is a problem is then no longer a problem.”

Sierralupe also says that, more often than not, the homeless in Eugene are not people who have traveled to get here but are from Eugene originally.

“Most people that are wandering around homeless are often wandering in the place they are born in — you are simply offering services to people who are your neighbors,” Sierralupe says. “And I have never seen anything negative come from offering services.”

Free mobile medical clinic visits Coos Bay in August

A free medical clinic from Lane County will visit Coos Bay next month.
Occupy Medical provides basic medical services.
The bus will be at the Nancy Devereux Center.
First aid care and diabetes treatment are some of the services offered.
Occupy Medical has been in Lane County for more than four years.
Each year the group provides a demo clinic in a different community.
“We had a patient a few years ago that walked from Coos Bay to Eugene to get help. Now, he came for one condition but ended up needing some pretty extensive foot treatment by the time he got here, and that was a fairly clear indicator that Coos Bay needed some attention,” clinic manager Sue Sierralupe said.

Occupy Medical plans to train Coos Bay and Florence volunteers

Every Sunday, the free health care clinic Occupy Medical parks in downtown Eugene to treat patients. But, at the end of August, Occupy Medial plans to visit Coos Bay for a special training clinic for people in Coos Bay and Florence.
The team is based on the Health Care for All model which aims to provide basic health care to everyone for free.
Each year, Occupy Medical picks a different area of Oregon to travel to so they can teach others medical skills in hopes of passing on their message to others.

Criminalizing Homelessness: Data show the unhoused are disproportionately ticketed in Eugene

“Without a house, basically everything you do is illegal, like sleeping,” said Sue Sierralupe of Occupy Medical, a free health care clinic frequented by homeless. “Jail is not the housing we are looking for [to help] the unhoused. It’s fiscally irresponsible, inhumane and immoral.”

Sierralupe says her staff has seen police write tickets to people sleeping on the sidewalk. When Occupy Medical was stationed in the Park Blocks, she says, it was a common practice for police to sweep the area to write tickets to homeless people.

Sierralupe says continually citing homeless people just forces them to move elsewhere and doesn’t actually help fix the problem. She says it causes unhoused people not to report crimes because they’ve accumulated so many violations they haven’t paid. She also says it makes it near impossible for homeless people to get jobs or pay rent, because their credit is so terrible. The effect, she says, is “crippling.”

Occupy Medical goes south: The activist group’s health care bus offers its free services for a day in Cottage Grove

South Lane Mental Health and Occupy Medical are joining forces to offer free medical care on Sunday, something that those involved say they hope becomes an ongoing partnership.

The four-hour event will provide medical care, foot care, nutrition guidance and haircuts, all with no appointment needed. They are the same services that have been offered in downtown Eugene since a first-aid tent first sprouted at an Occupy Eugene encampment.

“This will be the first step in helping them establish a clinic,” Occupy Medical Clinic Manager Sue Sierralupe said. “We are presenting a showcase clinic. This is our first out-of-town clinic.”

The mobile clinic has about 40 rotating volunteers, and they wanted to continue volunteering this weekend even with operations displaced in Eugene by the Eugene Celebration.

Health care, homelessness linked: Lack of housing exacerbates many people’s medical problems and everyone’s costs

Homelessness and health care have a complicated relationship. Being homeless puts someone at greater risk for a host of maladies caused or exacerbated by factors such as stress, exposure to the elements, lack of regular or nutritious meals, lack of rest, lack of proper clothing, lack of sanitary facilities, dehydration, physical violence and on and on.

Drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues also can be both a cause and a result of homelessness.

Occupy Medical: ‘If you need help – you get help’

EUGENE, Ore. — Every Sunday from noon to 4pm, volunteers gather at their “mobile clinic” to make a difference, and offer free healthcare in downtown Eugene, Ore. What started as a temporary first aid tent along the Occupy Eugene movement in October 2011 became the Occupy Medical clinic in February 2012.

Sue Sieralupe, a certified herbalist, was one of the founders of Occupy Medical. She has been the clinic manager since it started.—you-get-help

Occupy Medical: What free universal health care looks like

It’s a chilly April day with bursts of sunshine interspersed with blustery wind and rain. It’s not the worst day to be on the streets of Eugene, but it’s not the best day either, especially if you’re ill. The cold wind cuts through you and the rain soaks you, making the shaking and chills of fever feel that much worse; the moments of sun remind you that you have nowhere warm and dry to be, and no one to take care of you.

What do you do if you are homeless, uninsured or just plain broke and you’re sick? Where do you go if you do have a home but the waiting list is too long at the clinic or your insurance isn’t good enough to get you the care you need?

“You can’t just not help people,” says herbalist Sue Sierralupe. She’s the clinic manager for Occupy Medical, a team of volunteers who donate their time, skills and care to making sure anyone and everyone in Eugene has access to health care. From a patient’s perspective, it’s what single-payer health care looks like, Sierralupe says, and it’s free.

Occupy Eugene Medical Clinic First Anniversary October 2012

Occupy Medical Ready For Next Phase

Since its start in October of last year, Eugene’s Occupy Medical Clinic has continued to serve Eugene residents who do not have health insurance. Located at the Park Blocks on 8th and Oak between 12pm and 4pm every Sunday the clinic started as a simple first aid tent. Today, Occupy Medical aims to model the single payer health care system, as they believe it is best for everyone. They have not only grown in the amount of patients they are able to offer and the amount of volunteered help they receive each week.

First serving about 16 to 18 patients each Sunday, the clinic is now serving about 20-25 patients, due to the exponential amount of volunteer support and help that certified health care members are able to provide.

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