Volunteers in Medicine® (VIM) is the only national nonprofit dedicated to building a network of sustainable free primary health care clinics for the uninsured in local communities.
VIM began in Hilton Head, South Carolina. In the early 90s, one out of three people who lived on Hilton Head Island had no access to health care, a rate twice the national average. At the same time, retired medical personnel including physicians, nurses, dentists, expressed an interest in finding a way to continue practicing their profession on a voluntary, part-time basis to help those without access to medical care.
In 1994, under the leadership of founder Dr. Jack McConnell, these two groups were brought together to open the first Volunteers in Medicine Clinic. Word spread nationally about the success of the Hilton Head VIM clinic. In response to requests for assistance in replicating the VIM clinic model, Dr. McConnell created a separate nonprofit to assist interested communities in launching their own VIM clinic.
Working with the national VIM office includes learning the proven VIM model from experienced staff members, who have dealt with many challenges in developing a free clinic at the local level. VIM staff provides assistance and guides the community through each phase of the clinic development process, from the initial feasibility study through the opening of the clinic. Resource materials are available and provided throughout the development process. Once open, the clinic becomes a member of the VIM Alliance .