Dr. Reiko Johnson starts Volunteers in Medicine-NH in Seacoast NH

PORTSMOUTH — A local family doctor is about to bring free medical care to the Seacoast and Tri-City metro areas for the uninsured or underinsured. And she hopes to recruit more people willing to help her make this venture successful.

Dr. Reiko Johnson will begin her free clinics on January 10 at Cross Roads House in Portsmouth and Willand Drive Warming Center in Somersworth. The program, Volunteers in Medicine-New Hampshire (VIM-NH) is modeled on a national group of free healthcare clinics.

Johnson said she is drawing on her experience volunteering for five years at a former free clinic in Hampton, which was founded by Dr. Jay Kaminski, ran for 18 years, and closed in 2016.

Dr Reiko Johnson, seen on Thursday December 1, 2022, is starting a free medical clinic, initially at Cross Roads House in Portsmouth and Willand Drive Warming Center in Somersworth, starting in January 2023.

“I learned a lot by being there, watching and experiencing the free care that was provided,” he said, noting that the clinic operated out of a soup kitchen in a borrowed mobile van. “It operated with very little funding, without much need for grants or large fundraisers. It had limited hours and scope so it wouldn’t encroach on other health care systems…Nurses and social workers helped patients find resources and follow Local hospitals donated services and supplies. The providers were local doctors who came in once a month for three-hour shifts, and it was very doable.”

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