Lightning Talk

Utilizing a Collaborative Approach in APP Fellowships to Improve Health Equity in Rural and Underserved Areas

Sunday, August 21, 2022, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm CDT
rural healthMedically Underserved AreasMobile Health Clinics

One post graduate transition-to-practice program for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and Physician Assistants (PAs), also known as Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Fellowship, utilized a collaborative approach with local and system community leaders to enhance interprofessional training and improve health equity in rural and medically underserved areas through the use of mobile health clinics. In 2021, the program was awarded partial funding through a HRSA federal grant to improve the educational training of novice APRNs in rural and undeserved medicine, especially where services such as mental health are inadequate. While the mobile health clinics were in existence in two distinct areas within our system (underserved and rural), there lacked consistency with staffing by providers. In collaboration with community and healthcare system leaders and the local college of medicine, the APP Fellows were immersed into communities to deliver care to a variety of patients. The APP Fellows learned the impact of social determinants of health on patient outcomes as they were challenged to develop a plan of care for individuals who had multiple barriers to health equity, including education, transportation, housing, and economic stability. The APP Fellows collaborated with medical students and residents to develop a realistic plan for improving the health of the patients served. In the rural settings, the Fellows mitigated transportation barriers by providing care to elderly patients in a community that recently closed a health clinic, nearly 30 miles from the nearest facility. APP Fellows cared for unsheltered individuals, some who were recently released from prison or on the path to rehabilitation. The collaboration of the Fellowship with community medicine services has proven to increase the confidence and competence to care for patients with health inequity and has provided access to care for those in our communities.