Monday, March 23, 2015

Introducing the Next Generation of Primary Care Leaders for the Under-served!

For those of your that may not know, Friday, March 20 was Match Day - the  much-anticipated day in which medical students find out where they will do their residency training.  For those that may not be in medicine, the path to an MD (medical doctor) degree includes (typically) - 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical school, and then 3-7 years of residency training, depending on what field you decide to pursue.

I am fortunate to be the Associate Program Director for a residency track called the San Francisco General Primary Care program, or SFPC, which is a track within the University of California, San Francisco Internal Medicine residency program.  Every year we recruit eight outstanding individuals that exhibit a true commitment to primary care for under-served populations.  

Given the leadership roles that our graduates go on to play in caring for vulnerable populations, it gives me great privilege to introduce the newest 8!  

Chloe Ciccariello 
Chloe is finishing medical school at Mt. Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine.  She worked previously as a peer educator, and elaborated on those skills while at Mt. Sinai taking on several leadership positions within the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP) Clinic.  She has also been involved in Primary Care Progress, working towards the goal of having more trainees pursue careers in primary care. 

Matt Hickey
Matt is completing medical school at the University of California, San Francisco.  He has a strong, long-standing interest in global health and HIV care, most recently working on a project about engaging social networks to aid in HIV treatment.  He has also worked on decreasing conflict of interest among academic educators, and education programs for youth. 

Ashley McMullen 
Ashley will be coming from the University of Texas, Houston School of Medicine.  She has significant experience in basic science research on tuberculosis, but has developed increasing interest in HIV primary care, working with homeless adults, and advocacy. She has also developed educational opportunities for peers on the topics of street medicine and HIV care.

Alicia Morehead-Gee
Alicia is currently enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Drew School of Medicine.  Alicia has researched several underserved populations, including HIV-positive adults in South Los Angeles suffering from mental illness and rural Ghanaians.  She also has served in leadership roles with the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and has consistently worked on mentorship and pipeline programs for youth.    

Kenny Pettersen
Kenny is finishing medical school at the University of California, San Francisco.  Kenny has been a leader in UCSF's student-run Homeless Clinic and has established several programs and performed research in Haiti.  He is particularly interested in the role of informational technology in aiding chronic disease management abroad. 

Arjun Suri
Arjun will be graduating medical school from Harvard.  He has extensive experience working abroad - most recently in Cuba to understand primary care and social medicine training, but also in Peru related to community-driven approaches to quality improvement, and India studying neonatal and maternal health.  He is also very interested in systems improvements within urban, public hospitals. 

Emily Thomas
Emily is completing medical school at Yale University.  She has been particularly interested in studying incarcerated populations and characterizing the health disparities that exist among these individuals.  She has also been involved in the student-run free clinic (HAVEN) and supporting fellow students to participate in service activities while at Yale. 

Jessica Wang
Jessica is finishing medical school at Yale University, as well.  She is interested in improving patient safety by decreasing medication errors.  She has also been an active leader in several student-run free clinics at Yale (HAVEN, Neighborhood Health Project).  She aims to be a provider and educator in the service of vulnerable patients. 

We feel incredibly fortunate to have this group joining our community - Congratulations and Welcome!!  

Friday, March 13, 2015

State of the research on online patient portals

By Courtney Lyles, PhD

My main area of research over the past few years has focused on getting diverse patient groups to engage in accessing their medical record information online, through websites called online patient portals that are linked to electronic health record systems in hospitals/clinics. Portals typically involve allowing patients access to viewing their test results, visit summaries, and sometimes emailing with providers. Because most healthcare systems (with the exception of places like Kaiser) have only just recently created these portal websites as a part of the Meaningful Use certification process, there is a huge need for research studying their use and effectiveness. 

This post includes my thoughts about what we know and don’t know from the research to date, especially in light of two recent systematic reviews on 1) the effect of portals on outcomes  and 2) how patients with chronic disease and their providers view using an online portal.  (Apologies in advance that it is a very research-specific post!)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Achieving Health Equity is Risky Business: Secondhand Smoke and Vulnerable Populations

By Dean Schillinger, MD

The constructs of “vulnerable populations” and “vulnerability” have increasingly gained a foothold in the fields of Clinical Medicine, Genetics, Epidemiology and Public Health.  Vulnerability, outside of the health context, is broadly defined as susceptibility to attack or to physical or emotional damage. In Public Health, vulnerable populations are typically conceptualized as culturally, economically, geographically or socially defined groups who experience health disparities in relation to a pre-defined dominant (e.g. less vulnerable or invulnerable) group. In Epidemiology, however, vulnerable populations are characterized as groups who experience “greater risk of risks.”  This framing of vulnerability acknowledges that (a) health or illness is often a result of social risks that give rise to environmental exposures (or risks), and (b) these social and environmental risks compound one another to generate a higher and higher risk of being exposed to a causative agent, either at one point in time, or over the life course.