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OHSU nursing students help serve medically vulnerable

Friday December 6, 2013
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OHSU nursing student Zee Bakhtiar spoke about the I-CAN project to local media Oct. 10 at a kick-off event at a health center in Medford, Ore., while fellow nursing student Lauren Nawrocki and OHSU medical student Dan Phelan stood by for further questions.
(Photo courtesy of OHSU)
Oregon Health & Science University’s School of Nursing, in collaboration with the schools of medicine and dentistry, college of pharmacy, and Global Health Center, has created a new model to improve health outcomes for disadvantaged communities in southern Oregon and across the state, according to a news release.

Now in its second year of implementation, the Interprofessional Care Access Network Project in southern Oregon aims to assist veterans, Latino farmworkers and families in the west Medford neighborhood in partnership with La Clinica West Medford Health Center, the Family Nurturing Center and St. Vincent de Paul.

OHSU initially announced the I-CAN program earlier this year with the opening of the first site in Portland, Ore. The program is part of the nursing students’ course work as a clinical rotation. The student teams provide personal assistance through neighborhood centers and in collaboration with existing service providers.

Student experience

Through working with I-CAN, senior OHSU nursing student Zee Bakhtiar, said in an e-mail interview he hopes to gain an understanding of the lives of patients outside the walls of the hospital. “By spending time with patients in their homes, hearing their stories and observing their environment, we begin to connect the dots of health and sickness,” said Bakhtiar.

“We gain a deeper understanding of the societal factors that contribute to the poor health of our patients and the populations they represent,” said Bakhtiar, who is pursing a BSN. “These are factors of health that we cannot diagnose with a CT scan or measure with a blood draw, but nonetheless are just as vital to our efforts of caring for the patient.”

Students meet regularly with clients to work on goals. Client goals are as varied as remembering a appointment with a healthcare provider to finding work to get off of the street.

“Students often will accompany clients to various appointments, ride the bus with them, and then ensure the client understands what was said to them during their appointment,” said Bakhtiar.

Funding

The I-CAN Project is funded by a three-year U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration grant of nearly $1.5 million, according to the release.


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