CATEGORY: Impact

Community impact: Youth outreach

On a mission.

Yoga at the UCLA Family Commons (click image for larger view)

From babies to high school students, University of California Health has outreach programs for all types of youths.

A block from the Santa Monica Promenade, the UCLA Family Commons offers family-centric programming such as family coaching, parent seminars, martial arts and baby-and-me music and yoga. The wellness center, welcoming clients with its bright colors and convenient location, was developed by researchers from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. It has expanded to include a satellite site at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Koreatown. “Everything we do is for parents and children,” Director Kelle Taylor said.

At UC Davis, outreach efforts for high schoolers include a medical student anatomy lab, mini medical school and summer scrubs academic preparation program. UC Davis’ Veterinary Student Outreach Club hosts a yearly Future Day for high school students to encourage interest in veterinary medicine through hands-on labs and engaging talks. The next one is scheduled for April 28.

UC Irvine has an outreach program that invites 20 students from each of Orange County’s high schools to participate in hands-on instruction using the latest in minimally invasive surgical equipment. A two-week summer premed program is for high school students interested in a career in medicine. Meanwhile, the ultrasound in medical education program offers middle school, high school and undergraduate students the opportunity to see how ultrasound technology is used in medicine and learn more about health care careers.

Through a grant from the Desert Healthcare District, the UC Riverside School of Medicine will partner with existing Coachella Valley initiatives to support students aspiring to careers in health care. This will include student outreach and enrichment programs that inspire students to pursue health care careers and enhance their competitiveness for professional health training programs such as medical school.

At UC San Diego, the HERE Initiative is a far-reaching outreach program designed to engage with historically underserved communities in the southern and southeastern regions of San Diego County. The initiative includes the Medical Pathway Program, which involves UC-approved science courses at various high schools.

In San Francisco, public school students are getting a double dose of service from UC campuses. At John O’Connell High, Emily Ozer encourages students to teach their teachers to be more effective, one of five such youth-led participatory programs in San Francisco high schools. Ozer, a UC Berkeley School of Public Health associate professor, said the programs show promise in improving the mental health and well-being of teens.

UCSF graduate student Charlie Morgan works with a student at Mission High in San Francisco. (Click image for larger view)

At Mission High, when UCSF graduate student Charlie Morgan first visited the campus dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, students told him he didn’t look like a scientist. That’s the point. UCSF is helping change the face of science through its award-winning Science and Health Education Partnership, which works with San Francisco public schools to support quality science education for K-12 students. At Mission, Morgan and UCSF postdoctoral fellow Norma Velazquez Ulloa teamed with teacher Becky Fulop’s biology class to engage in hands-on experiments with real-world relevance.

“I really appreciate the students having access to scientists who don’t look like what they may think the typical scientist looks like — young people, people of different ethnicities, people who look more like them,” Fulop said. “I want them to see the way science is really performed.”

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Community impact: Partnerships

UC Health affiliations span the state.

Sam is among the patients treated at Venice Family Clinic, which is affiliated with UCLA.

UC Health’s impact extends far beyond the walls of its classrooms and hospitals. UC Health has affiliations with more than 100 county, Veterans Affairs and community-based health facilities.

These affiliations range from small to large. They include UC Irvine with Children’s Hospital of Orange County, UC San Diego with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and UC San Francisco with San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

These partnerships span across California. For example, UC administers three statewide helplines. One is for poison control (UCSF School of Pharmacy). Another is for healthy pregnancies (UC San Diego School of Medicine). A third is for quitting smoking (UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center).

One of UC’s newest affiliations highlights its role in the community. UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and Dameron Hospital in Stockton will form a joint venture that will allow Dameron to strengthen its core medical services while delivering more care locally. The affiliation builds on UC Davis’ history of successful collaborations through its primary care network, cancer care network and telemedicine network.

In Southern California, the Venice Family Clinic started as a small storefront operation in 1970. It has grown into the nation’s largest free clinic, serving 25,000 patients, nearly two-thirds uninsured. Affiliated with UCLA, the clinic relies on 2,250 volunteers – more than half from UCLA, including 1,100 students – and a staff of 225 with 20 physicians and two dentists from UCLA.

UCLA pediatrician Wendy Slusser and pediatric dentist Francisco Ramos-Gomez with Sam at the Venice Family Clinic.

The clinic is special not only for its size but also its soul: People like UCLA pediatrician Wendy Slusser and pediatric dentist Francisco Ramos-Gomez. They have designed programs to prevent childhood obesity and cavities so patients such as Sam (pictured) will maintain a healthy weight and healthy teeth. They also have developed training tracks so UCLA medical residents learn the ins and outs of community health.

They know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – or in Sam’s case, 38 pounds.

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Community impact: Volunteers

A helping hand.

UC San Diego has a two-year waiting list for its cuddler program, where volunteers such as Roger Whistler hold, rock, feed and change babies when their parents can't be there.

From answering phones to assisting women giving birth, more than 6,000 volunteers lend their services to the UC Health system.

There are burn center survivors like Chris Wilkins, treated at UC Irvine for a rare condition where he lost nearly all his skin, who return to provide support to new burn victims. “It’s a very scary thing to go through,” said Wilkins of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which affects about 1 in 1 million people. “It’s been a good thing to be able to help as much as I can.”

There are cancer survivors like Suzanne Mink who coach newly diagnosed cancer patients at UC Davis. “We don’t try to fix, we simply understand,” said Mink, a peer navigator.

There are celebrities such as pop star Justin Bieber, whose visits to Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA have brought smiles to sick children, and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, who has volunteered at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital to offer patients music as medicine.

UC Health volunteers can help with patient care, companionship and even pet therapy.

There are four-legged providers of pet therapy and two-legged providers of art therapy, all generously giving their time to improve patient care.

Roger Whistler embodies this good Samaritan spirit. The retired building inspector has volunteered for 18 years in UC San Diego’s neonatal intensive care unit as a cuddler. He holds premature babies when their parents can’t be there, freeing the nurses to do other tasks. The tender touch of this grandfather of 12 and great-grandfather of nine has calmed thousands of newborns.

“Each baby is a little different,” Whistler said. “You have to adapt yourself to what makes them feel most comfortable.”

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Community impact: Mobile eye clinics

Foresight is 20/20.

UC San Diego’s EyeMobile program reaches half of the low-income preschool children in San Diego County.

The future is brighter for thousands of underprivileged patients, from the very young to the very old, thanks to services provided by UC’s optometry programs.

About half of the 100,000 patients seen each year at UC Berkeley’s School of Optometry clinics come from all walks of life in the community at large. Exams and services also are provided off-campus, in schools, community clinics, nursing facilities and even homes to patients who otherwise do not have easy access to vision care.

Mobile eye clinics also are operated by UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco. The UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic, established in 1975 by an anonymous donor, remains a privately funded outreach program of UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute that provides high-quality eye care to underserved populations. In a typical year, 4,000 children and 1,000 adults get exams free of charge. An additional 1,500 people receive vision and glaucoma screenings at health fairs and 400 underserved children are given free prescription eyeglasses.

UC San Diego EyeMobile manager Abel Aramburo with a patient

Since 2004, UCSF Medical Center and San Francisco General Hospital have operated a Mobile Eye Service for the San Francisco community that provides a full spectrum of eye services, including vision-saving screenings. The service sends a van that provides eye care to underserved patients — particularly the elderly, the homeless and low-income families — whose access to eye services is often limited because of a lack of transportation or cultural and language barriers.

UC San Diego’s EyeMobile program reaches half of the low-income preschool children in San Diego County. The kids receive free vision screening, exams, glasses and ophthalmic care services to give them a chance to see and learn. Since it began in 2000, the program has screened more than 107,000 San Diego preschoolers, performed more than 17,000 exams and provided more than 6,900 pairs of glasses.

The UC San Diego EyeMobile van

“A lot of them wouldn’t get glasses if we weren’t here,” EyeMobile manager Abel Aramburo said. “After they get the glasses, you see a remarkable improvement.”

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Community impact: Nurse-run clinics

Practitioner makes perfect.

Faculty and students in UC Irvine's nursing science program help those in need at a Santa Ana wellness center.

The University of California has ramped up its efforts to help address a nursing shortage, including establishing a nursing school at UC Davis and expanding nursing education classes at UC Irvine. Meanwhile, UC nurse practitioners serve on the front lines, delivering compassionate care to the community at three nurse-run clinics.

In January, UC Irvine opened Orange County’s first nurse-managed clinic at El Sol charter school in Santa Ana, an underserved, predominantly Latino community, supported by a $1.5 million federal grant.

″With nurse practitioners playing a greater role in primary care today, practices like this one are vitally important for delivering much-needed health care to underserved communities and for educating tomorrow’s nursing workforce,″ said clinic director Susanne Phillips, a UC Irvine associate clinical professor of nursing science.

UCLA’s Health Center at the Union Rescue Mission

UCLA’s Health Center at the Union Rescue Mission has provided primary health care services to the homeless and indigent on Skid Row since 1983. The clinic is an “invaluable resource” for the underserved communities of Greater Los Angeles, said UCLA School of Nursing Dean Courtney H. Lyder.

“The children and families we see have no place else to turn to for health care,” Lyder said. “Last year we had more than 8,000 patient visits, a large majority of whom were children suffering from chronic illnesses caused by an unstable home life or, in many cases, no home at all.”

For students, the clinic is “an amazing experience,” where they learn about the unique challenges of caring for vulnerable and ethnic populations, Lyder said. The students, he said, “get to witness firsthand the resilience of individuals who are overcoming hardships that most of us cannot even imagine.”

UCSF partners to provide health care services at Glide Health Services.

At Glide Health Services in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, UCSF nurse practitioners serve the city’s homeless and poor. The nurse-run clinic receives 13,000 visits a year, from acupuncture to behavioral health to diabetes. It’s a holistic approach, so patients who visit behavioral health also get checked to see if their blood pressure is normal and their vaccinations are up to date.

“Any door is the right door,” clinic manager Karen Hill said. “A lot of people here have felt marginalized by traditional medicine. We try to work together with the patient. My focus is completely community.”

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Community impact: Student-run clinics

UC Health students collaborate to serve the underserved.

At UC Health, learning extends beyond the classroom. Students volunteer to run clinics that serve the neediest patients.

UCLA’s student-run Mobile Clinic Project has served the homeless of West Hollywood every Wednesday night, rain or shine, for more than a decade.

“We’re here where they feel most comfortable,” said one of the program’s undergraduate coordinators, Kevin Norris, in a July 16 article in the Los Angeles Times.

The mobile clinic is a joint project of the UCLA College of Letters and Science, School of Medicine, School of Public Health, and School of Law. The clinic also partners with the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, which shares its space on the corner of Romaine Street and North Sycamore Avenue, providing clients a place to receive medical care, legal services and hot meals.

Student-run clinics exemplify UC Health’s public service mission: collaborating with the community to serve the underserved.

UCLA's Mobile Clinic Project (click images for larger view)

UCLA’s mobile clinic was inspired by the Suitcase Clinic, which was founded in 1989 by students in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program and UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health to provide low-income and homeless people with free health and social services. All UC medical school campuses now have student-run clinics, nurtured by award-winning faculty such as Emily Dow at UC Irvine and Ellen Beck at UC San Diego. And don’t forget about cats and dogs – UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine students run the Mercer clinic that serves pets of homeless people.

Read the Los Angeles Times story.

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UC Health’s community benefit tops $3B

Impact includes caring for uninsured patients, training professionals and conducting research.

For the first time, University of California Health has measured the collective impact it has in caring for uninsured patients, educating tomorrow’s health leaders and advancing science to tackle medicine’s toughest challenges.

The estimated community benefit of UC Health’s five medical centers totaled $3.3 billion last year.

“As a public university and cornerstone of the safety net, UC Health is committed to serve California’s health needs,” said Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services.” Our combined community benefit demonstrates the powerful impact UC Health has as a system.”

Throughout UC Health, student-run clinics collaborate across their campuses and within their communities to treat patients from the working poor to the homeless and their pets. UC’s three nurse-run clinics provide compassionate care to underserved patients in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco. UC’s innovative Programs in Medical Education (PRIME) train doctors where they are most needed with programs focused on rural health and telemedicine (UC Davis), the Latino community (UC Irvine), the diverse disadvantaged (UCLA, UC Riverside), the San Joaquin Valley (UC Merced, UC Davis, UCSF), health equity (UC San Diego), and the urban underserved (UCSF, UC Berkeley).

UC Health has the nation’s largest health sciences educational system, with 18 professional schools and programs on seven campuses. Its community impact is felt in all corners of the state, through telemedicine services, clinical trials, classroom collaborations and affiliations such as UCLA’s partnership with the Venice Family Clinic, the nation’s largest free clinic.

Community benefits include programs or activities that improve access to care, enhance community health, advance medical knowledge and reduce the burden of government or other community efforts.

Here is a breakdown of UC Health’s community benefit in fiscal 2011, with totals from the health sciences campuses that have medical centers – UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF:

-Charity care and unreimbursed care: $560.7 million
Free medical services for patients who had no source of payment for urgently needed care and the unpaid cost of Medicare, Medi-Cal, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, indigent care programs and other safety net programs.

-Education: $174.7 million
Health professions education encompasses teaching physicians, nurses and students as well as scholarships and funding for education.

-Donations/sponsorships: $1.8 million
Through financial and in-kind contributions, UC Health offers support to community organizations to improve community health.

-Research: $2.6 billion
UC research gives local residents access to the latest treatments and therapies for advanced illness and complex health conditions.

For more information, view UC Health’s community impact brochure.

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