Applicants to Clinical Scholars form interdisciplinary teams and take on a “wicked problem.” To give an example of what this might look like, the program developed these snapshots. This is just a start—teams include clinicians from every discipline, and there is no end to problems they could tackle.
Patching Gaps in the System of Care to Reduce Congenital Syphilis
Dr. Anderson, an obstetrician, has noticed an increase in stillbirths in her practice. The main culprit is the rise in mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, which disproportionally affects women living in poverty and unstable housing, as well as women of color. Dr. Anderson teams up with a registered nurse from the county health department and a social worker from a nearby mental health clinic to tackle this wicked problem that impacts communities nationwide. The team plans to review medical records and interview mothers, identify gaps in the system of care, and present those gaps to a broad group of community influencers including health department leaders, mental health providers, homeless and women’s shelters, major health provider and mothers. This group will then make recommendations and take action to fill the gaps. Dr. Anderson and her team will publish the results in journals so their work helps build a Culture of Health in other communities facing the same problem.
Outgrowing Our Problem: Tackling Food Deserts in a Refugee Community
While other communities in the area have access to fresh, healthy and nutritious foods through farmers markets and retail stores, the Somali refugee population has little access. Many are living in poverty and cannot afford healthy items even if they were more available. Regina Jefferson, a dietician at the local health center within this community, teams up with a medical doctor, the director of a local developmental disabilities (DD) agency, and a social worker from the refugee services agency to tackle this wicked problem of food deserts. Their proposed plan will create a new business (to be staffed by people with disabilities, including those who are Somali) that will grow food to be provided at low cost to the Somali community. The director of the DD program will oversee the employees with disabilities gaining occupational skills at the farmers market, the social worker will connect the refugees he works with to the farmers market and to cooking classes, Regina will provide the cooking classes, and the doctor will screen patients and write prescriptions for the garden. Together they are defining wellness far beyond the clinic, and supporting the Somali community to create a Culture of Health.