Emily Brennan, a Barrett, The Honors College student majoring in biological sciences and anthropology, says her work with a student-led health-care organization has helped her see people experiencing homelessness through new eyes.
Brennan is executive secretary of Student Health Outreach for Wellness (SHOW), an interprofessional, student-run health-care initiative that provides care to vulnerable people who otherwise may not have access to it.
“Being a member of SHOW has helped me to look at people experiencing homelessness, as well as other vulnerable populations. I have learned to connect with these people, hear their stories and understand how they are regular people who are going through difficult times in life. Hearing stories about the impact some of our events and programs have had on their lives increases my desire to try to help, as well as try to eliminate the stigma surrounding people who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.
Her involvement with SHOW also has brought her leadership and mentorship opportunities and personal satisfaction.
“It is extremely rewarding to be able to see, through our health education programs, how we can help educate people about their health, and what they can do to stay healthy,” she said.
SHOW started in 2013 as a collaboration among Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. It aims to mitigate the barriers that vulnerable populations face in finding continual access to care. Since its inception, SHOW has provided care to thousands of patients at a clinic near downtown Phoenix.
SHOW provides free integrated behavioral and physical health care, preventative holistic care and educational health programming aimed at helping patients to self-manage chronic disease.
Students work collaboratively under a preceptor team of various disciplines to deliver comprehensive and patient-centered health care services. SHOW also promotes health and wellness through social workers, outreach activities and more. Small research grants and donations fund SHOW.
SHOW currently is recruiting volunteers and members for its six student-run committees, including Research and Quality Assurance, Volunteer and Human Resources, Programming and Special Events, Fund Development and Sustainability, Marketing and Media, and Clinical Operations. Students with any major, not just those that are healthcare or medical related, may volunteer for SHOW. The organization not only needs students with an interest in health care to work with patients, but also students in the areas of journalism, marketing, computer science and event management to help with communications, fundraising, outreach, web development and event coordination. Volunteers who have been active in SHOW may apply for committee leadership positions.
Brennan said some goals for this year include setting up a new clinic in Mesa, beginning a street medicine initiative and continuing health education programs. Another focus will be participating in the Hotspotting Learning Collaborative, an annual program that trains interdisciplinary teams of professional students from schools around the country to work with complex medical and social needs using a patient-centered approach.
SHOW aslo will host its 5th annual Health Fair for people experiencing homelessness near downtown Phoenix in October and the Mill Avenue Health Outreach Fair for vulnerable and homeless populations in Tempe in the fall.
Ross Johnson, a Barrett student majoring in biology, has been involved with SHOW for over two years and serves as student director of clinical operations. He plans to attend medical school next year. Through his work with SHOW, Johnson was able to complete his honors thesis at the end of his sophomore year in 2017.
"SHOW is an interprofessional health clinic with 11 different disciplines. After working with SHOW for over a year, I became extremely interested in interprofessional clinics and how they operate around the country. This led to my thesis, 'The Comparative Analysis of Interprofessional Clinic Models,' which looked at different clinic modes in order to make recommendations for the SHOW clinic. The primary reader was the program director of SHOW, Liz Harrell, and she helped steer the project in the right direction," Johnson said.
“My greatest learning experience, professional and leadership growth has come from SHOW,” added Johnson, who has volunteered as a patient navigator assisting patients in the clinic, an assistant in the pharmacy and a coordinator for health fairs.
Students interested in volunteering for SHOW may contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.