In a move that will bring greater access to health services, personalized health education and a distinctly personal touch to South Florida's most vulnerable communities, the College of Medicine has created a novel program that stands poised to revolutionize the way medical students are taught.
The Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP (Health Education Learning Program), a core component of the College of Medicine curriculum, is as progressive as it is inspired.
The idea is this: Send interdisciplinary teams of FIU students into communities of need to track and monitor the health of families throughout those students' education. Each team, which will work with 1-2 households, will include a medical student and his or her counterpart in social work, nursing and public health. Eventually, the teams will also include students studying business and law.
College of Medicine leaders are not aware of any other program in the country that offers students the opportunity to follow households for four years in their homes, providing unedited glimpses into the lives of the uninsured and under-insured.
College of Medicine leaders hope the program will help FIU graduate compassionate physicians, doctors attuned to the cultural complexities and harsh realities of our community's underserved populations.
"This isn't just about visiting a family for six weeks. This is about real learning," says Pedro Jose "Joe" Greer, M.D., assistant dean of academic affairs in the College of Medicine. "This is not about us just taking, it's about us giving and improving. It's about what a physician is about." Students will collect baseline and follow-up data, identifying health concerns that will be addressed with health care providers and the households and families in their continued visits. As their education progresses, the teams of students will continue working with households to implement and refine care plans in collaboration with the patients' health care providers.
Neighborhoods participating in the program will be identified in collaboration with community partners.
College of Medicine Dean Dr. John Rock hopes that the one-of-a-kind program will help reduce emergency room visits, improve health literacy and increase preventive care at the same time that it uplifts a community.
Says Rock, "This is our way of developing socially responsible physicians of tomorrow."
|»||See how the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program at FIU changes lives|
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