Current Projects

Are you a student involved in the Family Medicine Interest Group who wants to build your leadership skills and work with communities to address unmet health needs of underserved communities? Let’s talk! Email CHAP staff at alisse@uw.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Past Project: Foot Care Clinic

Medical, nursing, and physician assistant students who participated in CHAP Foot Care Clinics developed a toolkit of clinical and health promotion skills for working with community members experiencing homelessness, for whom quality foot care can be a potential life-saver. Students prepared with a two-part seminar by Amanda Kost, MD, MEd, This seminar taught students principles of diabetic pathophysiology and foot care management, as well as health education techniques and strategies for encouraging positive health behaviors by diabetic and non-diabetic patients. During clinics for individuals affected by homelessness, students worked one-on-one with clients to provide foot examinations and foot care while gaining skills in relevant health education and promotion. Sites for this project included Mary’s Place Shelters, ROOTS Young Adult Shelter, and Chief Seattle Club, a space for urban Native Americans in Seattle. This project is now housed under UWSOM Service Learning as the UWSOM Foot Care Project.

 
Past Project: Teeth & Toes Clinic

Students who participated in CHAP Teeth & Toes Clinics developed a toolkit of both clinical and health promotion skills for working with community members experiencing homelessness, as well as an opportunity for interprofessional education. Teeth & Toes was a partnership with the School of Dentistry, School of Nursing, and MEDEX NW (physician assistant training program) to provide patients with both a foot and oral exam. Clinics were typically held on federal holidays when students are out of class and could provide services during the day. Community partners included ROOTS Young Adult Shelter, Mary’s Place shelters in Seattle and King County, and Chief Seattle Club, a space for urban Native Americans.

Past Project: Dermatology Clinic

Through participation in the dermatology clinic, medical, nursing, and physician assistant students learned and practiced a set of clinical and interviewing skills. They also became familiar with the special health challenges of homelessness, such as limited access to health care, mental health services, and basic amenities such as water and toilet facilities. Student coordinators and student care providers attended annual seminars taught by Amanda Kost, MD, MEd and other physicians on topics relating directly to unique disparities in Seattle’s homeless population. From 1994 to 2019, the Dermatology Clinic regularly provided dermatology care at the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), a shelter for more than 200 adult men and women. Dermatological problems are common in the homeless community, but often go untreated in the presence of more serious medical and social concerns.

Approximately six student coordinators shared leadership responsibility, scheduling students and attending physicians, ensuring that supplies were stocked and supervising each clinic session. Care was delivered by two medical student teams, each consisting of a pre-clinical medical student (first or second year) and a clinical (third or fourth year) medical. The teams were precepted by a volunteer attending physician. This program helped students appreciate and learn the complex, tacit skills and knowledge essential in family medicine and many other specialties. Effective diagnosis and treatment requires sophisticated cognitive skills, particularly in the care of underserved and vulnerable patients with multiple comorbidities in communities of special need. CHAP helps future health care providers master skills essential for meeting the challenges of building patient investment, setting priorities, engaging patients in behavior change. Expert practitioners like our preceptors use tacit knowledge and skills that are not often apparent to learners.