Wingra Family Medical Center Resource Navigation Program
When I was a physician-in-training…, I first met ‘Patient Ruth’…. Her feet were swollen, she wore flimsy house shoes, and raw leg ulcers made walking painful. She’d been to the emergency room many times, and we gave her the usual treatment – a few hours in a warm bed, some antibiotics, a decent meal. The next morning she limped back to the same problems she had before: no home, no job, lousy food, no family or friends to come to her aid. We were not equipped to protect her from her harsh world outside the hospital, which was destroying her health and shortening her life.
—Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
What if clinics were equipped with a system to help Ruth meet her basic needs?
We are trying to do just this — and undergraduate students can help!
Wingra Family Medical Center has begun asking patients whether they want help meeting basic needs (like transportation, food, jobs, childcare) that we know impact their health. Students work with these patients to help them connect with community resources to meet their needs, and follow-up with them regularly to help them navigate complex social service and health systems. Students learn about the important links between these basic needs and health, interact directly with patients and learn patient advocacy skills. Patients receive support by partnering with students to get connected to community resources.
Fall 2017 application has closed. Please check back for future opportunities.