Mayo Clinic Doctors Volunteer Their Time to a Free Clinic in Worthington, Minn.

Maria Willrich, Ph.D.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Free Clinic (OLGFC) — a ministry of St. Mary’s Catholic Church — has been operating quarterly in Worthington, Minn. since July 2011, using the chiropractic facilities as well as rooms at the St. Mary’s Church rectory. According to Rev. Jim Callahan, St. Mary’s priest who also serves as the OLGFC clinical director, the project was born from an assessment of needs in the parish and larger community, particularly among the immigrant population.

David Plevak, M.D., from Mayo Clinic has been instrumental in staffing the OLGFC by recruiting his Mayo Clinic colleagues to volunteer their time, including Maria Willrich, Ph.D., a first-year Clinical Chemistry fellow in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. Willrich, a native of Brazil, has been in Rochester for just four months.

Colleen Fagan

“One of my consultants forwarded me the email about this, and I felt immediately connected,” she related about how she became an OLGFC volunteer. “It said that Spanish interpreters were highly sought, and I don’t speak Spanish — my country’s language is Portuguese — but it’s similar enough to Spanish that I can understand it.”

Colleen Fagan of Mayo Clinic's Dermatology Clinical Laboratory assisted Willrich with the laboratory at OLGFC.

The Daily Globe featured an article about the free clinic on Nov. 4 on

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This post was authored by the Marketing Team at Mayo Clinic Laboratories.