CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 12

12
Sarah Nachtman and secondyear
CU School of Medicine
student Rebecca Henkind
COL L EG E
CU Street Medicine
Connects Students
with Opportunities
to Aid People
Experiencing
Homelessness
NEW CAMPUS INTEREST GROUP BUILDING
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS AND ENHANCING
STUDENT EDUCATION By Rachel Sauer
Patient care doesn't always happen within four walls or
in buildings with controlled climates and cupboards full
of supplies. Sometimes it happens in a parking lot, on
the sidewalk, by a trail - wherever a person with need
happens to be.
It's an essential lesson that Rebecca Henkind, a
second-year student at the University of Colorado
School of Medicine, and Kiera Connelly, who in
December will graduate from the University of Colorado
College of Nursing, learned while working at the
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH).
That lesson and others they learned working with CCH
inspired them to form CU Street Medicine, a new student
interest group that connects medical, nursing, and
other interested students on the CU Anschutz Medical
Campus with community partners who offer medical and
non-clinical services to people experiencing homelessness
or housing insecurity.
" Something Kiera and I both learned (working with CCH)
is how important it is to meet people where they're at,
and that the need is huge, " Henkind explains. " We wanted
a way to help students have opportunities to work with
people experiencing homelessness and gain experience
giving the care that people actually need, and not just what
we think they need. "
BUILDING COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Henkind and Connelly, both EMTs, not only met while
working with CCH, but became friends. Through shared
experiences in the CCH clinic and with the Health Outreach
Program held Monday evenings outside the Denver Rescue
Mission, they gained an expanded awareness of not just
the medical needs that people experiencing homelessness may have,
but the many other challenges that can affect their ability to access and
receive care.
" It was issues that I don't think there's a lot of awareness about, "
Connelly explains. " Things like trying to get transportation to pick up a
prescription, or avoiding picking it up because of copays, being able to get
an ID without an address, and just a general erosion of trust in the system.
So much that impacts health care isn't about the actual medical care. "
Henkind and Connelly reached out to Kathryn Boyd-Trull, MD, an assistant
professor of family medicine, and to Scott Harpin, PhD, RN, an
associate professor of clinical teaching in the CU College of Nursing, for
mentorship. In 2014, Boyd-Trull founded the Yahweh Health Clinic to
provide medical services to people experiencing homelessness or who
are housing insecure.
" I grew up in rural Colorado, and with the population surrounding me in
the rural communities, I was seeing just a lot of barriers to care, " BoydTrull
explains. " It wasn't even that the people I was seeing were actually
homeless, they were working, but with limited resources and limited
access to care. I was seeing that a huge percentage of our population
wasn't actually getting care, and in fact wasn't even seeking it out. "
Also, Henkind and Connelly reached out to Sarah Nachtman, a community
navigator with the City of Commerce City, and began accompanying
her at least once a week on outreach visits to areas of Commerce City
where people experiencing homelessness are staying.
" This is a really important partnership, " Nachtman says. " A big part of
getting services to people experiencing homelessness or who are housing
insecure is meeting them where they're at and starting to rebuild the
trust that a lot of people have lost because of their previous experiences. "
CU College of Nursing | Fall/Winter 2021

CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021

CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - Cover1
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 2
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 3
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CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - Cover4
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