Background and Objectives: Despite the significant effects of homelessness on health, medical and health professions students rarely receive formal education in caring for individuals experiencing homelessness. We describe the implementation and evaluation of a novel student-run Patient Navigator Program (PNP) and its prerequisite elective that trains students in patient navigation principles specific to homelessness in the local community. Methods: We analyzed pre-and postsurvey matched responses from students immediately before and after course completion. The survey utilizes the externally-validated instruments Health Professional Attitudes Toward the Homeless Inventory (HPATHI) and the Student-Run Free Clinic Project (SRFCP) survey. We examined differences using paired t tests and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Students also completed separate end-of-curriculum evaluation forms assessing satisfaction with the course. Results: After completing the elective, students (n=45) demonstrated improvement in self-assessed attitude towards individuals experiencing homelessness (P=.03), specifically an increase in reported social advocacy (P<.001); and an increase in self-perceived knowledge about (P<.001), efficacy in wo rking wi th (P =.01), an d skills in caring for (P<.001) underserved groups. The elective also received high student satisfaction ratings. Conclusions: Formal education in patient navigation and caring for individuals experiencing homelessness improves self-assessed preparedness of future health care providers in serving homeless and underserved populations.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Jan 2023|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Family Practice