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Interdisciplinary Student-Run Clinic to Serve Local Community

In May of 2013, a group of students from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona began developing Arizona's first student-run clinic for the homeless.  This small service-learning program was named the Student Health Outreach for Wellness (S.H.O.W.) Community Initiative.  The idea grew from a desire to develop an interdisciplinary health clinic dedicated to positively addressing a local social issue.  

As the program gained support and developed student leaders during the start-up process, its community and volunteer support grew tremendously. More than 150 students from 16 professional programs across the three universities--including nursing, social work, nutrition, medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant, audiology, speech pathology, physical therapy, business, journalism, and computer science--have worked together with faculty and community partners on the design and development of the program. 

The S.H.O.W. clinic will be located at 220 S. 12th Avenue in Phoenix, at the current location of the Healthcare for the Homeless Clinic on the Human Services Campus.  The clinic will operate during the weekend, providing extended resources to the homeless community, but also preventive holistic care for the benefit of the population. After more than a year of hard work, S.H.O.W. is excited to open its doors in October, 2014.

S.H.O.W. is a learning laboratory that is open to all enrolled participating university students with the aim of providing free health promotion, disease prevention, and primary care services to people who are experiencing homelessness in the downtown Phoenix area.  S.H.O.W. uses a well-tested student-run clinic embedded in an interprofessional practice model as its foundation to provide much needed services for this at-risk and highly vulnerable population.

S.H.O.W. also welcomes university students who wish to complete well designed research and applied projects that meet Internal Review Board approval, while aligning with the mission and vision of our initiative. Through these exploratory activities, S.H.O.W. hopes to contribute to nationally-recognized health goals of cost effective quality care interventions that impact community and population health.

As members of interprofessional teams at the clinic, students from diverse backgrounds will work directly with patients to assess, diagnose, and provide treatment and follow-up services under the supervision of licensed clinical faculty members from the universities and community providers who are trained mentors in interprofessional settings. Students will also provide Saturday health promotion activities including substance abuse classes that explore identification of abuse, stages of change, and identify local sobriety resources.

Students will help patients learn how to eat better--specifically, how to use food stamps to leverage nutrition values at local vendors. They will also facilitate health information stations at the clinic that help patients understand risk factors for chronic illness including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Interested non clinical students can work to support S.H.O.W. by serving on various committees, including Communications and Public Relations, Programming and Special Events, Fund Development and Sustainability, Human Resources, as well as Training and Orientation.

S.H.O.W. approaches community health and access to care in a variety of ways, interweaving multiple strategies to achieve results.  Tri-university involvement allows for the latest clinical advancements and evidence-based practice to be incorporated into routine care as a cultural norm. The interprofessional setting supported by multiple partners who share the same values allows for an environment where interprofessional viewpoints are maximized to their fullest potential.  Delivering care in an interprofessional setting exposes our future healthcare providers and graduates of other disciplines with never before experienced opportunities.

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