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As providers and students across professional disciplines, our mission is to partner with individuals experiencing homelessness by supporting and advocating for their individual needs, including health care and social services. In doing this work, we seek to build a community of advocates who actively resists the underlying structures that perpetuate social injustices and make homelessness an acceptable reality. We also aim to further interdisciplinary approaches to achieving equity for those experiencing homelessness. We believe that the lessons learned in our partnerships – to meet people on their terms, to appreciate the context in which they live, and to recognize the power of being present – extend to all arenas of care, and should inform our practices as future caregivers involved in justice work.

About the Navigator Program and Services

In 2014, medical students from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University partnered with case managers from House of Hope, a community development corporation in Rhode Island, to create the Rhode Island Medical Navigator Partnership (RIMNP). Through this program, we act as healthcare navigators and medical advocates for our partnered participants, all of whom have experienced homelessness. We use an interdisciplinary team-based structure consisting of students (including in medicine, social work, law, nursing, and undergraduate programs), case managers, and anchoring providers to advocate for the unique needs of our partnered participants and to ensure their fair treatment in and out of clinics and hospitals (see model below). Our navigation support includes scheduling and attending medical appointments, improving communication among providers, assisting with healthcare system literacy, facilitating SSI benefits, helping to secure housing opportunities, providing social support, and more. We do not discriminate against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical ability. Furthermore, we understand that individuals holding intersectional identities of marginalization are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Our work seeks to actively combat these structural inequities.

Interdisciplinary Team-based Model

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