Online Program

Improving Medical Student Attitudes in Caring for the Underserved

Monday, November 2, 2015

Devra Cohen, M.P.H., College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Elliot Montgomery Sklar, PhD, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Nicole Cook, PhD, MPA, Master of Public Health Program, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Kristi Messer, MPH, MSW, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Malcolm Hannah, Nova Southeastern University, 3434 South University Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Anna Johnson, MPH, College of Osteopathic Medicine-Master of Public Health Program, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
As the need for medical education programs to devote time and resources to care for the underserved becomes more apparent, the need for effective programs and accurate measures of effectiveness is essential. Attitudes of health professionals and medical students have been demonstrated to affect the decision of pursuing careers to car for the underserved. These attitudes change during the course of medical school training in positive and negative directions. Tools such as the Attitudes Towards the Homeless Questionnaire (ATHQ) and the Health Professionals Attitudes Towards Homeless Inventory (HPATHI) have been created to assess these changes over time. Based on prior comparisons, the HPATHI was chosen to gauge the attitudes of the medical students.  An addendum was created by the study team in an effort to better understand the variability in outcomes that have previously been documented. This addendum utilizes both proximity of experience to the homeless in the following four categories of: Awareness, Personal Experience, Volunteer Experience, and Direct Care Experience. Additionally, the frequency of those experiences was determined through a five-point Likert scale from ‘Never' to ‘Very Often.'  Comparative data from this tool will be reported on medical students across four years of their training and the implications of proximity and frequency of experience with homeless individuals on medical student attitudes will be discussed in the context of future research opportunities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify the implications of housing status on the provision of medical care to individuals experiencing homelessness. Analyze the positive and negative attitudes of medical students at different time points in their medical school training on providing medical care to individuals experiencing homelessness. Describe medical students attitudes towards caring for individuals experiencing homelessness and the implications for delivering competent, compassionate treatment.

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Medical Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted multiple research studies on health disparities, homelessness, and vulnerable populations and presented the study results at national conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. I am a faculty member of the Master of Public Health program at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine as well as the Coordinator of Inter-professional Research and Outcomes Assessment for several grant-funded initiatives.
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.