SRF018: Developing a Student-Led Patient Navigator Program for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
Nicholas Campalans, BS; Umaru Barrie, BS; Thanos Rossopoulos, MD; Alison Liu, MD; Natalie Bonner, MS; Kevin Ma; Brayden Seal; Claire Abijay; Arlen Suarez, MD; Ashlyn Lafferty; Nora Gimpel, MD; Philip Day, PhD; Patti Pagels, MPAS, PA; Kyle Swartz
Objective: To describe the development of a new student-led patient navigator program (PNP) for patients experiencing homelessness.
Study Design: A PNP that provides navigation services at free in-shelter clinics for people experiencing homelessness was designed using a multi-pronged development structure over a 9-month period. An initial group of students met with community stakeholders to outline primary health-related needs and barriers faced by individuals experiencing homelessness. A mission and vision were then created, from which the following programmatic components were identified: curriculum, navigation system, resource database, quality improvement and research, and marketing and communications. Components were assigned leaders to generate timelines, specific aims, and details of operation and substructure. Recruitment of a dedicated leadership team was accomplished by engaging peer networks via e-mail and in-person meetings. Reporting structures were built to ensure accountability and effective coordination between teams.
Results: By July of 2020, over 40 students and numerous faculty from UT Southwestern Medical School and Health Professions programs were engaged in development of the PNP. A 3-month long curriculum was built and will be open to 32 students starting in fall of 2020. A year-long navigator experience was developed that enables iterative cycles of longitudinal patient navigation, pairing student navigator teams with clients for 3 15-week cycles. An online resource database of over 110 community, social service, and healthcare groups was created. Assessment tools and infrastructure were built to monitor client and learner-related outcomes.
Conclusion: Guided by a robust developmental structure, this program plans to bridge critical gaps in care for individuals experiencing homelessness, link curricular experiences with service-learning opportunities for health professions students, and generate additional insights into the optimization and implementation of this PNP.