Campbell Community Care Clinic: Meet Kristy Matasavage

Meet Student Doctor Volunteer Kristy Matasavage (MS-II). Before coming to CUSOM, she earned a BA in Psychology at Western Connecticut State University, and she worked the night shift in a Connecticut hospital’s psychiatric unit for three years.
Why did you choose to volunteer at CUCCC?
I chose to volunteer at CUCCC because I wanted to care for people within our community. In the preclinical years, it is easy to lose sight of why I am here in medical school with all the material we are responsible for learning. The patient interactions and the feeling of helping the community remind me of why I wanted to be an osteopathic physician in the first place, so that is the main reason why I choose to volunteer at the clinic.
What do you like most about CUCCC?
The thing I like the most about the CUCCC is that it puts us in a real life clinical situations with real patients who need our help.  We get to be “real” student doctors to help the people in our community. This experience is very different from the classroom where we use standardized patients and mannequins for patient interactions. While simulations are extremely helpful tools for us to learn, it’s not the same as the real thing. I appreciate the real-life experience I receive at the clinic. Volunteering at the clinic gives me a sense of meaning, and I love being able to help all members of the Harnett community.
What have you learned through your volunteer experience at CUCCC? 
I have learned what it is like to work in a real-life clinic seeing actual patients. Having the privilege to be able to see and treat real patients is much more meaningful than only working in simulation and clinical skills labs. I have also gained a better understanding of how many people in our community rely on our clinic for healthcare. Our patients come from all walks of life, and so do we. My classmates and I treat patients from a variety of backgrounds, not because it is the righteous thing to do, but because it makes our community better and brings a diverse population of people together for a good cause.
MS-II Kristy Matasavage speaking with a patient on the Spring 2020 Mission Trip to Jamaica
How has COVID-19 affected the CUCCC?
COVID-19 may have altered our class and clinic schedules from normal operations, but it won’t stop us from seeing our patients at the CUCCC. Student doctors and attendings have transitioned to “telemedicine” visits during the pandemic, so we are still able to see patients online. Even though it is not the same as an in-person visit, it provides a way for us to still see our patients during this unprecedented time. In my opinion, an online experience is better than no experience, and we are still able to help our patients electronically. Going forward, I believe that the CUCCC will continue conducting telehealth visits. However, I think I can speak for all of the student doctors at the clinic by saying that we cannot wait to see our patients at the clinic in-person once again when it is safer to do so.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t studying or volunteering?
Playing field hockey is my hobby. I love playing in adult pick-up leagues both in North Carolina and back home in Connecticut. I played for four years at the collegiate level at my alma mater, Western Connecticut State University, where I was captain of the team for two years. I also used to coach field hockey at the high school junior varsity level. My other interests include hanging out with my family, dogs, and friends, gardening, and enjoying free moments spent not studying.