Dr. Kelly Poole (Social Work) received renewal funding from the Cone Health Foundation for the project “Congregational Social Work Education Initiative (CSWEI 2017-18).”
Consistent access to primary medical and behavioral health care reduces cost, increases capacity within the tertiary health care system and enhances the wellbeing of communities overall. Studies demonstrate that individuals without permanent housing, and other health disparate population groups, such as immigrants and refugees, access primary health care and other health wellness services at far less frequency than that of the general population. Affordability, accessibility (transportation) and availability (long wait list, inconvenient hours) are commonly cited causes for vulnerable individuals’ inability to secure necessary, ongoing coordinated health and behavioral care. In addition to the foregoing, obstacles to care may include difficulty navigating a fragmented human service delivery system, untreated mental illness or substance abuse, fear of stigmatization, language or other cultural barriers.
An integrated care approach, within an interdisciplinary model of care, and augmented by other ancillary community-based, co-located service agencies, especially those offering supported housing, have proven to be highly effective program models. With its creative, collaborative, community-based model, CSWEI has successfully developed and implemented programming that addresses the needs of each of these vulnerable population groups and has been effective in linking health desperate individuals to care.