Impact of Student-Run Clinics on Students' Attitudes Toward People Experiencing Homelessness
AuthorMercadante, Sophia F
Goldberg, Leah A
Divakaruni, V Laavanya
JournalPRiMER (Leawood, Kan.)
PublisherSociety of Teachers of Family Medicine
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractIntroduction: Student-run clinics can supplement medical education by exposing students to diverse clinical scenarios and collaborating with underresourced populations. We examined the impact of volunteering at THRIVE, a student-run bridge clinic located within sheltered housing for individuals with substance use disorder, on students’ attitudes toward people experiencing homelessness (PEH). Methods: This cohort study analyzed pre- and postsurvey matched responses from nonvolunteer and volunteer first-year medical students utilizing the Health Professional Attitudes Towards the Homeless (HPATHI) tool, totaled into three subcategories: Cynicism, Social Advocacy, and Personal Advocacy. We evaluated the association between change in scores and volunteering utilizing Student t tests and adjusting for participant characteristics using multivariable regression analysis. Results: We received 106 responses (53% response rate); 58 students (55%) volunteered at the clinic and were mostly female (62%), White (52%), and had previous experience working with PEH (71%). The mean change in Personal Advocacy scores was higher for volunteers compared to nonvolunteers, even when adjusting for respondent characteristics (P=.02). Additionally, students who held a prior advanced degree and/or current enrollment in the master of bioethics program (Higher Education Students) had a positive association with change in Personal Advocacy scores (P=.02). Conclusion: Volunteering at the THRIVE Clinic appears to impact the Personal Advocacy scores of medical students. This suggests that interacting with PEH early in students’ career may be associated with a commitment to working with this population. However, our study has multiple limitations, including self-selection bias, limited sample size, and unclear permanence of students’ attitudes over time. Further studies of this cohort could help clarify the significance and permanence of volunteering in student-run clinics.
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Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/16230