Training guide designed to educate next generation of homeless health care providers
By Sam Catanzaro
Venice Family Clinic has launched a training guide designed to “educate the next generation of homeless health care providers.”
The nonprofit community health center, which provides primary care to 45,000 people in L.A. County, announced on Monday the launch of its Street Medicine Curriculum.
“Venice Family Clinic was the first community health center in L.A. County to send health care providers into the streets to provide care to people experiencing homelessness. From this start in 1985, the Clinic created a street medicine program that has grown to nine teams with eleven health care providers,” Venice Family Clinic said in a press release announcing the program. “Venice Family Clinic’s leadership in homeless health care led the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to provide the funding to develop the Street Medicine Curriculum, which provides students and practitioners with clinical and social tools to address the complex challenges people experiencing homelessness face.”
The curriculum provides integrated guidelines for street medicine with the best practices in social care. It details how to approach individuals on the street and deal with the variety of issues they may have, including trauma, substance use disorders and mental illness. The curriculum also describes how health care providers can work with other agencies that provide services to people experiencing homelessness to make sure patients have access to housing, transportation and other services. The United Way grant also provided funding to build a structure for training students and medical residents.
“In developing the Street Medicine Curriculum, our goal is to build a skilled and compassionate community so that together we can ensure that all our neighbors in need can be healthy and housed,” said Dr. Coley M. King, Venice Family Clinic’s director of homeless health care services. “People experiencing homelessness face enormous health challenges and place significant burdens on our health care system. Our challenge is to do everything we can to locate these unsheltered individuals, meet their survival needs and deliver quality health care to each and every person.”
Venice Family Clinic is making the Street Medicine Curriculum available online and through printed documents to health care providers, educators and students.