“HOME is where the medical students are,” in the August 22 MIDWEEK, profiles the medical school’s successful outreach by John A. Burns School of Medicine students, who help deliver wellness to homeless children and adults on O`ahu. Read the article at MIDWEEK.
The reason they’re “in the news?” Well, fresh off their school supplies drive for homeless keiki (featured in the video), The Hawai`i H.O.M.E. (Homeless Outreach and Medical Education) Project is gearing up for its 5th Annual Food and Wine Tasting and Silent Auction Fundraiser Event on Saturday, August 31, 2013 on the campus of the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kaka`ako, from 5:30 in the evening to nine.
See new photos of our medical students treating homeless patients in Kaka’ako on UHMED Flickr .
The H.O.M.E. team hopes you will plan to attend this event, which helps raise funds for the H.O.M.E. Project. Four times each week, The H.O.M.E. Project provides free weekly student-run clinics at homeless shelters on O`ahu as well as to un-sheltered homeless in Honolulu. Medical services include care for acute and chronic health problems, preventive services, health counseling, vaccines, and free medications for those without insurance. In addition to the clinics, the H.O.M.E. Project also sponsors Keiki Halloween carnivals, Keiki Christmas parties, Mother’s Day gifts, a teen mentoring program, and an annual school supply drive in support of the health and well-being of this growing community.
Sponsorship Donation levels include reserved seating for ten people at the Platinum Sponsor Level ($5,000 with VIP parking, table service and reserved seating for 10, wine service and acknowledgements in Advertising), Gold Sponsor Level ($2,500 with reserved seating for 10, table and wine service and VIP parking), Silver Sponsor Level ($2,000, reserved seating for 10 with table service), and the Bronze Sponsor Level ($1,500 with reserved seating for 10). Individual tickets are $75.
Dr. Jill Omori, JABSOM Associate Professor and H.O.M.E. founder, and all the volunteer students and faculty who provide this community service on O’ahu say, “Thank you for your ongoing support – Hope to see you there!”
About the Hawai`i H.O.M.E. Project
By 2012, patients at homeless shelters on O`ahu had received medical care more than 7,600 times from University of Hawai`i medical student volunteers since the Hawai`i Homeless Outreach and Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project was launched in 2006 at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). Nearly 450 medical students at various stages of their medical education had volunteered to be part of the outreach during that time. The homeless people who have been helped during that time include the unemployed and uninsured, both adults and children in Honolulu and the Leeward Coast.
“Thank you for helping me! If it weren’t for HOME clinic, I would not have been able to go back to work,” one of our patients reported. The patient continued, “I really hated going do the doctor before and they always treated me like a second class person…but after seeing you guys I have faith in medicine again.”
Wrote another, “I am so thankful that you guys come to the shelter every week. It has been really hard for me to get insurance and I wouldn’t be able to see doctors or get my medicines if it wasn’t for this clinic.”
All medical students in their first year at JABSOM must participate in a yearlong community health setting, and H.O.M.E. is one of ten options available to them. At H.O.M.E., the students perform medical check-ups, taking patients’ vital signs and discussing their medical histories. The students, under supervision of volunteer faculty and community physicians, also are asked to interview one of their patients to learn more about what led them into homelessness. Students write essays based on their interview—and it’s a lesson that sticks with them.
“It’s easy to just judge someone as a homeless person without asking yourself, ‘what caused the homelessness? What factors in their lives or the economy or within their families, or whatever, led to the problem’,” said H.O.M.E. founder Dr. Jill Omori, JABSOM Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health.
Second-year medical students have the opportunity to work as managers of the H.O.M.E. Project or its spin-off program formed in 2011, the Hawai`i Youth Program for Excellence (H.Y.P.E.) H.Y.P.E. is aimed at teen-agers in the shelters, and helps them get physical exercise and work toward better self-esteem. A mother living at one of the shelters found H.Y.P.E. to be a godsend. She wrote, “My daughter anxiously looks forward to the HYPE events every month and has really opened up a lot since starting the program. She feels comfortable talking to the students and knows that it is a safe environment for her to share her troubles and concerns.”
Third-year medical students at JABSOM perform a Family Medicine and Community Health Clerkship with the homeless outreach project, where–for every week for nearly two months (seven weeks)–they must work at two to three clinics. For 10 fourth-year medical students, an elective also is available which requires them to provide health care at no fewer than 25 clinics in their final year of medical school. Every year since its inception, the fourth-year elective has been filled to capacity; a sign of how successful the medical school’s curriculum promoting care for the underserved has been.
Dr. Omori started H.O.M.E. after homelessness began to spread dramatically throughout O`ahu, a problem noticeable in the Kaka`ako neighborhood where the medical school opened a new campus in 2005. That year, Dr. Omori surveyed students and faculty at JABSOM and learned that 94% of students and 88% of faculty members felt homelessness and treating the underserved was a problem that needed addressing even more in the medical school’s curriculum.