Matching physicians to newly arrived refugees in a context of physician shortage: Innovation through advocacy

Brunger, Fern and Duke, Pauline S. and Kenny, Robyn (2014) Matching physicians to newly arrived refugees in a context of physician shortage: Innovation through advocacy. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 10 (1). pp. 36-51. ISSN 1747-9894

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Abstract

Purpose. Access to a continuum of care from a family physician is an essential component of health and wellbeing. Refugees have particular barriers to accessing medical care. The MUN MED Gateway Project is a medical student initiative in partnership with a refugee settlement agency that provides access to and continuity of health care for new refugees, while offering medical students exposure to cross-cultural health care. This paper reports on the first six years of the Project. Method. A mixed-method approach was used, including statistical data collection on patient participation and physician matching, a survey of physicians, interviews with student coordinators, and participant observation research. Findings. Here we report on: (1) Patient uptake and demographics, (2) Health concerns identified through the Project, and (3) Physician uptake and rates of patient-physician matches. Results demonstrate that the Project integrates refugees into the health care system and facilitates access to medical care. Moreover, it provides learning opportunities for students to practice cross-cultural health care, with high engagement of medical students and high satisfaction by family physicians involved. Innovation. Research has shown that student run medical clinics may provide less than optimum care to marginalized patients. Transient staff, lack of continuity of care, and limited budgets are some challenges. The MUN MED Gateway Project is markedly different. It connects patients with the mainstream medical system. In a context of family physician shortage, this student-run project provides access to medical care for newly arrived refugees in a way that is effective, efficient, and sustainable.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11672
Item ID: 11672
Keywords: refugees, cross-cultural health, student-run clinics, community activism, medical education
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Community Health
Date: 2014
Date Type: Publication
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