Online Program

Homeless health and access to healthcare in urban settings – a social epidemiology

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:38 a.m. - 8:56 a.m.

Azizur Molla, M.P.H., Ph.D., Public Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI
Sweta Basnet, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
This paper examines the relationship between healthcare and homelessness in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Homelessness is on the increase, with over 630,000 people in the US experiencing homelessness on a given night between 2009 and 2011. Ethnographic surveys, semi-structured interviews, life histories, demographic characteristics, and personal health statistics data were collected and compiled for 70 homeless individuals living in the study area. Preliminary results suggest that homeless people with health problems often have difficulty seeking healthcare service. 51% reported having difficulties finding appropriate healthcare service, and 70% had one or more health problems. The ethnographic findings suggest that many of the study population encountered multiple barriers that limited access to healthcare services. The intensive ethnographic method has helped to understand the difficulties being faced by the homeless population in the study area to have healthcare. The findings will be useful for community health program personnel, policy makers and local community based organizations including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to design suitable healthcare service delivery systems.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess health and hygiene of homeless population living in Grand Rapids, MI Discuss factors contribute to becoming homeless Describe recommendations to improve health and hygiene of the study population

Keyword(s): Health Disparities, Community-Based Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator and author on this project and this project was my field practicum for anthropology at Grand Valley State University. In addition, my research interest lies in increasing access to healthcare for vulnerable populations.
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.