Albuquerque Opportunity Center

The Albuquerque Opportunity Center (AOC) is an emergency shelter for homeless men that offers a unique twist to caring for the homeless.  The shelter was designed with two exam rooms and a respite care wing in addition to the traditional wing for non-medical patients. Respite care patients must be discharged to a physical address because they are still not well enough to be discharged to the street. The AOC provides respite beds specifically for this purpose, thus serving a vital need in the homeless community.  

 patient     facility

Since 2014, the shelter has allowed UNM SOM students from numerous disciplines to provide a student run interdisciplinary health clinic once a week for the residents of the AOC.  Physical Therapy is always highly sought after by the AOC residents.  As one can imagine, the homeless population are at much higher risk for musculoskeletal issues. This is where the Physical Therapy students come in!

 Students who volunteer at the clinic are able to provide physical therapy services to any resident who requests it.  A practicing physical therapist from the community teams up with the students and guides them during the evaluation and treatment.  Together they take a full history, perform any manual muscle testing and special tests they feel necessary and prescribe appropriate exercises.  

 student experience     clinical experience

One of the biggest benefits of volunteering at the AOC is the opportunity to interact with students from other healthcare disciplines.  Students learn from each other and treat patients as a cohesive team.  This experience prepares the students to enter a healthcare environment that is leaning more and more toward interdisciplinary practice.  Another great aspect of this clinic is the interaction between student PTs and practicing PTs.  The AOC is a wonderful environment for PTs to share their knowledge and passion for their profession with the newest generation of PTs.

 Overall the AOC is an amazing opportunity for PT students to practice their new skills, to learn about other medical disciplines, and to give back to their community in a very meaningful way.  

 Clinic Schedule:

  • Tuesday nights: 6:00-9:00pm
  • Our current primary physical therapist is Kara Rechard, DPT.
  • In order to participate in the clinic both students and PTs must sign up using the online sign-up list which changes every few months.  Please contact the Clinical Coordinators for the most current sign-up link.


  • 715 Candelaria Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107