inter-professional Community Health and Education Exchange
"What this class turned out to be was a revelation. That is not to say I was unaware of the homeless population in Portland prior to this class, but that I knew it like I know the Eiffel Tower: I know it exists, where it is and what it looks like, but I have never been there, nor really experienced it. Working at Transitions Project, talking with person after person, hearing their stories, connecting with them and learning from them: that truly revealed this population to me, and I experienced it in a way that is not possible with lectures full of pictures and numbers."
OHSU Medical Student Class of 2013
"This class has opened my eyes to the problems people are facing in my own backyard and has reinforced my skills needed to provide assistance to anyone I may come into contact with. I know how to look for and offer valuable resources to those in need, including housing, food, clothing and many different types of health care. I have learned valuable communication skills that will help me with my future career. These communication skills not only taught me how to empathize and listen to people needing assistance in my community, but how to collaborate and communicate with other health care professionals."
"I had a chance to interact with the homeless as people, not problems. Like anyone else, they deserve and want to be respected in life, and if we give them respect they will do the same. It was important to recognize that each person's diverse experiences, values, and beliefs impact how he or she accesses services. Equally important, is recognizing that the cultural values of medical providers and service delivery systems have an effect on how services are delivered and accessed. Knowing this will help health care professionals be more aware of the need to provide access to essential services to this particular population. Needless to say, this class increased my knowledge of the nature and extent of health disparities and health system gaps in my community."
OHSU Dental Student Class of 2013
Student reports from our recently completed Winter 2012 course at MLK Portland Day Labor Center (VOZ)
- A City Bible Church - refugee community report - Fall, 2011
- A general iCHEE reflection
- A Lutheran Community Services (LCS) report - Spring, 2011
- A Portland Day Labor Center (VOZ) report - Winter, 2011
We encourage students and faculty to join the many who have had life changing experiences right here in Portland!Email Valerie Palmer for more details.
Click to view earlier Reflections from the iCHEE™ courses.
iCHEE™, the brain child of Valerie S. Palmer, is an innovative elective in student education while engaging and supporting the community. The program interfaces Portland-resident refugees and other communities with students and faculty mentors from all four OHSU schools. Dental, medicine, nursing and pharmacy students develop multicultural knowledge and cross-professional skills while providing refugees health information, physical check-ups, referrals to low-cost clinics, the Medical Teams International (MTI) Dental van and the Casey Eye Institute (CEI) vision van. Dental and medical students receive 2 credits; nursing students receive credit on other courses and pharmacy students receive "community credit".
This is OHSU's first community-based, interdisciplinary educational program, and the first program aimed at refugees the world over. The goal is to adapt the course to the needs of newly arriving refugee and other underserved groups, and incorporate these opportunities for education and contribution into the optional hands-on experiences that cap the Global Health in Changing Environments course.
The project began in the fall of 2008 at Africa House and continued through the winter quarter before moving to Kateri Park community center for Spring 2009. Directed by Valerie S Palmer, GHC Senior Research Associate, with strong logistic support from Cate Bishop, GHC Coordinator, the planning group brought together faculty and student representatives from the four OHSU schools, with the support of the respective deans, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Catholic Charities, VOZ MLK Day Labor and Lutheran Community Services.
iCHEE™ comprises five 5-hour Saturday community contacts in S.E. Portland with:
- African refugees at IRCO-Africa House;
- African, Burmese, Hispanic, African American and European American at Esperanza and Kateri Park Community Center;
- undocumented workers from South America at VOZ Portland; and
- African, Chinese, Eastern Europeans (including Ukrainian, Slovakia, Romanian), Bhutanese, Nepalese, Pakistani, and other communities at the Lutheran Community Center.
Since inception, 258 students have participated in the iCHEE™ program:
- 61 from pharmacy (COP),
- 81 from the nursing school (SON),
- 53 from the school of medicine (SOM),
- 47 from the school of dentistry (S0D),
- 4 from graduate student programs, and
- 12 from the physician assistant program.
The Global Health Center wishes to thank the many volunteer faculty preceptors and community members who have participated in the program. To date, the iCHEE™ program has served approximately 1,035 people, with little or no medical insurance, and referred or provided dental care (in collaboration with MTI's dental van) to more than half of the clients along with eye care supplied by the OHSU Casey Eye Institute's mobile unit.
Goals for the Future
- Provide more opportunities for students and faculty to participate in the iCHEE™ experience;
- Firm-up collaborations with MTI's and CEI's mobile units for site visits;
- Encourage participation of OHSU resident clinics to care for iCHEE™ clients;
- Provide vision screen training and insight on how to handle mental health problems for iCHEE™ students; and
- Provide suitable sustainable methods of information transfer to culturally diverse populations (e.g. through theater/music).
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