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Bedlam Clinics

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OU Bedlam and PAL Clinics

The OU Bedlam Evening Clinic and Physician Assistant Longitudinal (PAL) Student Clinics are unique educational features of the OU-TU School of Community Medicine. The OU Bedlam Evening Clinic was created in response to harsh economic times in Tulsa following the September 11 attacks of 2001. At that time, Oklahoma already ranked near the bottom of the nation in health statistics. After 9/11, Tulsa was second only to San Jose, California, in the number of jobs lost per capita, creating a dramatic rise in the number of uninsured. With nowhere else to go for primary care, those without coverage flooded local emergency rooms, straining hospital budgets and staff, and costing patients much more than a regular physician office visit.

One of the first actions that University of Oklahoma – Tulsa President Dr. Gerard Clancy and other leaders recommended was addressing the needs of the working uninsured by offering free evening clinics initially staffed by medical students and volunteer physicians. In August, 2003, funded by private donations, the OU Bedlam Evening Clinic, also known as “Bedlam – E,” opened with more than one hundred patients waiting in line. In 2008, the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa Physician Assistant Program was founded. Physician assistant (PA) student training was quickly incorporated into the innovative, interdisciplinary OU Bedlam – E clinic.

OU Bedlam – E provides acute and limited specialty care and is open 48 weeks in the year, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5:00 - 9:00 pm. The clinic provides PA students and medical students with a service-learning experience in team-based, interdisciplinary, evidence-based patient care. Students from the University of Oklahoma Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work are also part of the patient care teams. Students and faculty learn from their practice and continuously evaluate and improve their systems of care.

OU Bedlam-L provides longitudinal care to patients with chronic diseases. MD and PA students are each assigned a panel of patients that they treat over the course of a year.  

Today, OU-TU School of Community Medicine’s PA students and medical students take leading roles in the operation of the OU Bedlam and PAL Clinics, supervised by faculty clinicians. “The OU Bedlam Clinics provide quality, continuous care to many Tulsa-area patients with chronic disease who would otherwise often be in emergency rooms with one crisis after another,” says F. Daniel Duffy, M.D., previous Dean of the OU School of Community Medicine. “Helping to bring their diseases quickly under control has pulled many of them from the brink of serious health crises. They often tell us they don’t know what they’d do or where they’d go for treatment or medicines were it not for the OU Bedlam Clinics.”

The clinics deliver direct experience in the practice of community medicine, teaching students not only patient care skills but also exposing them to the challenges faced by uninsured individuals.

Patients can find out more info about the OU Bedlam Clinics here.