Xavier University graduate student Eric Peters (left) and UC medical student Steven Moore are two of several students participating in the Xavier-UC collaboration to enhance health care services for the underserved population in Cincinnati. Xavier students focus on the business end of medicine, while UC students focus on implementing the business standards.
Put a Bearcat and a Musketeer in a basketball arena and it’s every man for himself. Put them in a small medical clinic at a homeless shelter, however, and they join hands for the good of every man.
“We’re very neutral on the whole basketball thing,” jokes second-year medical student Robert Pulliam of a newly established collaboration between UC College of Medicine students and Xavier University graduate students majoring in health services administration.
The partnership is designed to improve community health care services, including free medical services at Cincinnati’s Drop Inn Center.
In 2008, administrators at both universities saw the opportunity for UC and Xavier students to combine their skills for the good of Greater Cincinnati’s underserved. The result: Xavier students work with UC students on projects that focus on the business aspect of medicine and UC students apply those improvements to optimize time and quality care.
For example, Xavier students designed legal consent forms at the Drop Inn Center where there had been none before, created a Web site to post clinic schedules and designed a newsletter for volunteer alumni.
“They’ve given us great insight into ways we could run the clinic more efficiently,” says Steven Moore, a second-year medical student and clinic co-coordinator with MedVoUC (Medical Student Volunteers at UC).
MedVoUC is one of two student-run, organizations at UC that have supported community outreach programs in Greater Cin-cinnati for decades.
The other organization is the Urban Health Project, which provides medical student internships that assist communities in Greater Cincinnati while increasing medical student exposure to clinical skills.
MedVoUc trains medical students to provide primary care services at the Drop Inn Center. These include blood pressure screening, glucose monitoring, delivery of flu shots and other minor care skills.
“The students are partners, and it’s been a really great experience for everybody,” says Karen Kent, instructor and faculty advisor to Xavier’s program.
The business end of medicine isn’t always at the forefront when students are in medical school, she says, but it’s becoming more and more of a focus at progressive institutions.
“We’ve had some immediate results through the collaboration. Business is an area that medical students aren’t very experienced in and the health administration students have been very beneficial to us in administering our programs,” says Pulliam.
Furthermore, the goal for both sets of students is the same at the shelter, says Moore: “To prevent unnecessary visits to the emergency department for people who don’t have primary care, and Xavier students have provided us with a good amount of insight into how to accomplish that goal in areas that aren’t really our expertise.”
With better logistical practices, places like the Drop Inn Center run more smoothly, Moore says, but they are still in dire need of physician volunteers.