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UArizona's CUP clinic continues free lab testing for underserved people

To keep lab testing services free, Sonora Quest Labs donated nearly double the amount they did last year of in-kind preventative testing to the CUP clinic
U of A CUP clinic
Posted at 5:01 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 20:22:39-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — With a mission to provide accessible healthcare for all, the University of Arizona's Commitment to Underserved People (CUP) clinic program promises to continue free lab testing to those who need it — with the help of Sonora Quest Labs.

To keep lab testing services free, Sonora Quest Labs donated nearly double the amount they did last year of in-kind preventative testing. The number went up from $6,000 to $10,000 to further meet the growing need of the community and student-run clinic.

Meghan Shapiro, COO of Sonora Quest Labs, says they firmly believe in supporting the areas that support them.

"Part of that is making sure folks get access to the care that they need," said Shapiro. "You'd be amazed when you realize that depending on where people live and their access to food, access to healthcare immediately impacts their lifespan and how much of that lifespan they're actually healthy."

Sonora Quest Labs donates close to $1 million to various charitable organizations in Arizona. About 25% of the donations represent in-kind testing which is essentially free testing — CUP being one of the organizations that receive the donation.

The CUP clinic program started in 1979 and is a co-curricular club of the UA's College of Medicine Tucson. It's student-run and under the supervision of volunteer attending physicians. Medical students organize and provide preventative care, immunizations, order lab tests and much more to patients who have no other options to receive proper healthcare.

Dr. Anna Landau is the director of the CUP clinic, she says the average price for lab tests can range from $50 to several hundred.

"Any labs we feel are needed for those patients, we're able to order," said Dr. Landau. "We actually have students who do the lab draws in the clinic. Then, we send them off directly to Sonora Quest, they process them and then they give them back to us. Now, they're covering all of the cost for that."

Not everyone can afford medical care, let alone lab testing.

"If you have kidney issues, liver issues, if you need STI testing," Dr. Landau said. "We're able to provide all of that here, free of charge.

Noah Encinas is a first-year medical student at the University of Arizona and he is the student lead lab director at CUP. He says the focus of medicine has changed, making lab testing a huge part of preventative care for not only the community, but for future doctors too.

"It's great practice for medical students to be able to use that testing," Encinas said. "We're students, we're still learning and under the direction of an attending physician here at the clinic, we can order those tests."

General and more specific preventative testing like can include complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, lipid panels as well as pap smears and STI testing.

"In order to prevent those chronic conditions," Encinas said. "Those diseases, whatever it may be, from happening — it allows us to be able to catch things before it gets to that point where we need to treat it with a medication."

Dr. Landau confirms CUP is reopening its Integrative Medicine Clinic as well as starting their brand new Wound clinic next week.

More information on receiving care from CUP can be found here.

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Jacqueline Aguilar is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born and raised in Yuma, AZ., she is no stranger to the unforgiving Arizona heat. Now this U of A wildcat is excited to be back in Tucson and is looking forward to involving herself in the community. Share your story ideas with Jacqueline by emailing jacqueline.aguilar@kgun9.com or connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.