On January 20th, the University of New Mexico’s Physician Assistant program held a benefit fundraiser called Masquerade for Medicine. Heading Home was honored to have the Albuquerque Opportunity Center’s (AOC) weekly medical clinic picked as one of the beneficiaries. The event was a huge success, bringing in thousands of dollars that will go to supplies for the clinic. The fundraiser was coordinated by Lindsay Fox, Outreach Coordinator with the UNM PA program, and two students within the program, Ashlee Smalley and Maia Brown.

Heading Home’s CEO, Dennis Plummer, was on hand to give some remarks to the crowd:

Because of this collaboration, Heading Home staff has had the opportunity to witness the magic that happens when you combine an eager, service-oriented group, with a high-needs demographic in a neutral, safe, stable environment. I’ve personally seen worlds open up for both these groups. These wonderful young people have a brilliant way of establishing dialogue with our residents.


For many of our residents the exchanges that go on are the first meaningful conversations they’ve had in weeks. ‘Tell me what’s going on’… those five magical words open up a bridge into our resident’s lives. They create a validation of experience, and plant the seed that our resident’s well-being is meaningful.

The UNM PA program’s mission is to provide “primary medicine with a special focus on the medically underserved and rural populations in New Mexico.” Since 2013 Heading Home has partnered with the UNM Health Sciences Center to offer triage services to the residents at our Albuquerque Opportunity Center (AOC) men’s emergency shelter. Students working towards professions as physicians, nurses, pharmacists and occupational therapists run the weekly clinic for men experiencing homelessness.

For more photos, please check out our Facebook photo album of the event.  There’s also a great article about the event by UNM’s Daily Lobo.