Impact of Student-Run Clinics on Students' Attitudes Toward People Experiencing Homelessness.
INTRODUCTION: 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 (
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.
Published In/Presented At
Mercadante, S. F., Goldberg, L. A., Divakaruni, V. L., Erwin, R., Savoy, M., & O'Gurek, D. (2021). Impact of Student-Run Clinics on Students' Attitudes Toward People Experiencing Homelessness. PRiMER (Leawood, Kan.), 5, 19. https://doi.org/10.22454/PRiMER.2021.489756
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Family Medicine