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Samaritan’s Touch physical therapy clinic provides needed care to uninsured Lexington populations

Community outreach and serving others is ingrained in the mission of the UK College of Health Sciences. No one knows this better than Lynn English, PT, DPT, MSEd, associate professor in the department of physical therapy. English supervises Samaritan’s Touch— a student-led physical therapy clinic in Lexington that offers free care for uninsured and underinsured residents. 

“The UK Samaritan’s Touch Physical Therapy Clinic and is managed by a cohort of physical therapy students who are in their second and third year of the program,” English said. “Physical therapists from the academic faculty and community also volunteer their time to the clinic to mentor students and serve patients.”

Due to COVID-19, Samaritan’s Touch closed in mid-March and reopened in July after restrictions were lifted. “We are so excited to be serving our community again,” English said.

Samaritan’s Touch is housed within the UK HealthCare Samaritan physical therapy clinic across from Samaritan Hospital. The clinic is open two evenings most  weeks and serves up to six patients each evening.

English opened the clinic in the current location in 2011 after experiencing firsthand the need to provide quality care for patients who are uninsured.

“We did surveys to find people across our community who had little to no access to care. It’s part of our professional core values as physical therapists to serve the community,” she said. “If our clinic didn’t exist, there would be a significant number of clients who do not have access to care or who have exhausted all of their benefits.”

While the clinic provides hands-on clinical experiences for students, English said seeing students and volunteers unite around caring for others is the reason Samaritan’s Touch has been a success.  

“This is such a reflection of the values of our community and college,” she said. “We have at least 15 physical therapists who volunteer on a regular basis. Our mission is to provide optimal care to those who need it most.”