Beyond the Books program at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

my name is Jim King off of relatively
bad divorce I had some health issues that’s how I ended up at the Haven and
through the Haven went and did the Getting Ahead class and then from there there’s
a spin-off called Forward Bound which I’m still actively involved in. The Forward Bound program is a group of individuals the Haven who are dedicated
to kind of improving their situation and it’s comprised of individuals who
previously struggled with homelessness or who are currently struggling with
homelessness. When we work with folks from the community who come through our
doors at the Haven, one of the things that we see frequently is that they have
issues related to their health as part of the barriers that prevents them from
doing as well as they might want to do or as well as the rest of us would hope
to see them do in their lives. And so we introduced Beyond the Books to try and
provide medical students with a fundamental understanding of health
disparity and of the socio-economic forces the social determinants of health
that drive health disparity. What is really special about this program or
think is so effective about is that it connects people in a way where they can
learn about some of those challenges to those injustices in a personal way and
through relationships and through one person at a time Our folks really took jump to this opportunity to be able to meet with
these folks and said you know this is how it is when we need to get help from
the healthcare profession and these are some of the barriers that we’ve found
over the years and how can we change that. You know we’re first-year med students what can we actually do? We can provide
health information. We can provide advocacy. We could
you know we were really racking our brains to see how we could be of use to them. And we were really surprised to find that really what they wanted most was a
chance to kind of shape the next generation of physicians to be what they
needed and what they wanted and so they essentially just volunteered to mentor
us and to help us become aware of some of the barriers to help that it’s tough
to learn unless you’re just talking with someone who’s experiencing it. I think
it’s really it’s been needed for a while you know and and the group that that
we’re dealing with there’s another group of it beyond the Beyond the Books
they’re all genuinely want to get to know the situation you know they’re not
just going through it because I know it’s something to do. It’s I think they
really feel there’s a need out there is an avenue to try to understand that need
working with a group that has you know gone through a very intense various
degrees of situations and I think they really want to learn from it
and they they want to be that more compassionate understanding doc. The stories that I’ve heard the anecdotes have all been about a sense of pride
that they have things to say that are being listened to and respected and have
been new thoughts to the medical students. So their sense of self-efficacy,
their sense of being heard, their sense of worth has been an added bonus in
this process and it’s been a gift that these students have been able to give to
people who have not always had such great experiences along that line. Well we’re trained to recognize like patients scripts, like X patient comes in
this is the epidemiology, these are the likely things, this is how the
differential works out and as we’re starting learn the patients
don’t read the textbooks and there’s a huge amount of variability. We do need to having put more of an emphasis on the social history aspect of our of our history data. it is interesting that we that it isn’t prioritized because we’ve
come to know that social determinants of health had some of the greatest
influence on determining whether or not somebody’s going to get sick. Having somebody listen to them about what some of the barriers are or how it
can be changed or made easier for future folks and to be able to educate folks
that are going to be doctors is amazing. So I think then going through this
they’ll appreciate the time maybe better and ask better questions have a better
feel for the who they’re dealing with and who the patients are. The very start the very beginning is learning being open being humble and thankful for the
opportunity to be able to learn from people who what if it’s kind of
challenges to in the hopes that maybe someday can you something about it

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