175069 Role of public health in a student-run health clinic

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 12:50 PM

Benjamin T. King , School of Public Health, University Medical Center at Brackenridge, Austin, TX
Rangika C. Fernando , School of Public Health, University of Texas Houston Health Sciences Center, Houston, TX
Lara M. Bull, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, University of Texas Houston Health Sciences Center, Houston, TX
Kerry J. Welsh, MPH , School of Medicine, University of Texas Houston Health Sciences Center, Houston, TX
Lena T. Williams, MPH , Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Sheryl A. McCurdy, PhD , School of Public Health, University of Texas Houston Health Sciences Center, Houston, TX
Over 40 student-run medical clinics in the U.S. have emerged to respond to the needs of the underserved. The Houston Outreach, Medicine, Education, and Social Services (HOMES) Clinic is a multi-institutional, inter-professional, student-run free clinic incorporating medical, pharmacy, and public health students to serve the homeless population of Houston. The purpose of this paper is to describe the roles of public health students in the HOMES model and promote the diffusion of this model in other student-run clinics. At HOMES, public health students function: 1) as advocates for their patients by promoting a holistic approach that considers all aspects of the patient's experience beyond the symptoms central to the biological disease model; 2) to improve the medical team's understanding of environmental and social health factors; 3) to model and provide feedback to the team after the patient visit regarding how communication, history taking, or listening skills could be improved during the interview process; and 4) to conduct research with the HOMES patient population. When managing, public health students oversee clinic flow, help develop plans for continuous care, provide information on resources, answer questions, and help patients from a macro-perspective of healthcare. Through their participation in the HOMES Clinic, public health students widen their perspective on clinical care, operationalize the interdisciplinary model, and gain experience managing human resources in healthcare systems. Public health students aid healthcare professionals by providing a population health perspective and emphasizing socioeconomic health determinants that improve the breadth of services and interventions for the homeless population.

Learning Objectives:
1) To describe the function of public health students on a clinical team providing health care for the homeless 2) To describe what public health students gain by taking part in a student-run clinic 3) To describe how public health students can improve interventions and services for the homeless population 4) To describe the contributions of public health students in managing a clinic for the homeless and encourage the diffusion of this innovative model throughout the U.S.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have performed or aided in the work described within this abstract. The manuscript referred to was developed by me.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.