History & Vision

JayDoc exists today because Jenny Koontz decided to act on a simple yet radical idea.

Koontz was a third-year University of Kansas medical student, well aware of the stark socio- economic disparity in the quality of health care offered in the US today. She wondered what it would look like if med students — even during the years of their education and training — took on the challenge of alleviating that disparity. Her frustration and her question became the catalyst for JayDoc, a free health clinic that would hurdle the socio-economic barriers in order to provide quality health care to all.

Wyandotte County seemed like a great place to start. Home to the University of Kansas School of Medicine, the area contained a poverty rate of nearly 17 percent in 2003 (six percent above the state average). Countless individuals and families were without insurance necessary to see a doctor. Sure, the Kansas City-area safety net clinic network was designed to provide some help, but it was bogged down, its clinics booked months in advance. Clearly Wyandotte County had both the need and the assets for Koontz’s vision.

As Koontz saw it, the best way to learn is to do. If medical students had the opportunity to volunteer, they would experience a unique perspective and educational opportunity. First- person encounters with patients in a non-traditional environment would provide up-and- coming doctors with experiences sure to forever shape their practices.

Then came the elbow grease. Koontz gathered financial support from her medical student peers and recruited volunteers for a nonprofit organization that would be entirely student-run — from its board of directors to its front desk volunteers. And, with that, the dream became the reality.

JayDoc continues today in Koontz’s vision, providing healthcare to greater Kansas City community. Our lab volunteers provide in-house tests, cutting costs and expediting results for patients. Agreements with outside laboratories allow students and doctors to order expensive tests at reduced costs. Our social services division assists patients in finding a permanent medical home for ongoing care. In 2010 we introduced electronic medical records — ensuring we will continue to function astutely with a changing health care field, and providing our volunteer staff with crucial experience for their continued practices. Operations are as strong as ever, as we strive to alleviate some of the socio-economic barriers common in the health care industry, providing a new generation of doctors with grassroots experiences that forever shape their hearts and minds.