In the Community

UMB Graduate School’s Physician Assistant Students Raise Funds for Local Free Clinic

Dr. Michael Zollicoffer, a beloved Baltimore pediatrician, embodies altruism by dedicating 37 years to providing vital healthcare regardless of financial constraints. His commitment extends beyond pediatrics, operating an urgent care clinic at personal expense, prompting PA students to organize a successful popcorn fundraiser, raising $642 to sustain his clinic.

May 8, 2024 | Ashley Alston and Dr. Cheri Hendrix

Baltimore pediatrician Dr. Michael Zollicoffer, better known to our Physician Assistant (PA) students as Dr. Z, epitomizes the spirit of altruism, dedicating over 37 years to providing essential healthcare services to the Baltimore community, regardless of financial constraints. His unwavering commitment to breaking down barriers to healthcare emphasizes his belief that everyone deserves access to medical care. Beyond his role as a pediatrician, he extends his care to patients of all ages through his urgent care clinic, often at his own expense.

When Dr. Z expressed his idea of organizing a fundraiser through a popcorn sale to support his clinic, PA students immediately stepped in to lend a hand. Recognizing the importance of his clinic's sustainability, second-year PA student Ashley Alston worked closely with him to set up the fundraiser, coordinating logistics and reaching out to both UMB PA cohorts for support.

The popcorn fundraiser was a four-day-long event in April, facilitated through Double Good Popcorn, where supporters could purchase popcorn online to contribute to the cause. With the generous contributions from both cohorts, the PA students were able to raise a remarkable total of $642. They raised $567 through popcorn fundraising and $75 through direct donation.

Committed to serving local and underserved communities, supporting Dr. Z's clinic aligns perfectly with the mission of the PA program. By contributing, our students not only uphold the values of compassion and service but also ensure that essential healthcare remains accessible to those who need it most. 

Looking ahead, Dr. Z envisions quarterly popcorn fundraisers in addition to other creative initiatives to continually support his clinic's important work! Ms. Alston said it best: “While rotating with Dr. Z, I learned the importance of providing barrier-free health care and just how important social aspects contribute to one's health. I watched Dr. Z care for each and every patient who walked through the doors regardless of ability to pay! This was my first rotation witnessing this in this capacity. I am so happy we were able to help and proud of us for contributing to a great cause.”

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