SHOW’s clinical health students range from nursing, social work, nutrition, medicine and pharmacy to audiology, speech pathology, physical therapy, business, journalism and computer science. They are responsible for the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care delivery for patients, and have implemented many innovative ideas in their program, including an electronic whiteboard filled with a patient’s information, combination of professionals from different medical fields, and a greeting from a “patient navigator.”
“The navigator is the patient’s health advocate and stays with them through their entire visit,” said Sukhdeep Singh, SHOW student director and ASU senior in finance premedSingh is a student in the W. P. Carey School of Business and in Barrett, The Honors College.. “They are willing to get on a personal level with the patients. When I was a navigator, I bonded with patients by talking about my favorite food — Chinese. We don’t want this to be a demeaning environment because our goal is to treat them as human beings.”
That’s exactly how Taline Aydinian, a 21-year-old exercise and wellness junior, connects with her patients — on the human level.
“A lot of patients have told me they were abused when they were kids and other sad stuff that I imagine contributed to them being homeless and having health issues,” Aydinian said. “When they receive respect, they are more willing to open up to you because they don't get it that often. Everybody here in the clinic respects them and treats them as human beings.”
Twenty-two-year-old patient navigator Erika Alcantera, who is a public service and public policy majorAlcantera is a student in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. at ASU, said she was initially weary about interacting with the homeless but has overcome that fear.
“I know now they’re just human beings and won’t bother you or do you any harm,” she said. “They’re very grateful for what we do, even the littlest things.”
“When other providers come here on the weekends to check us out, it just clicks for them. I heard one health professional say, ‘I’ve been practicing for 20 years, and I’ve never seen it done this way. And when I go back to the hospital, I’ll think about doing it this way.’”
— Sukhdeep Singh, SHOW student director and ASU senior
Patient Corry Stewart was grateful for the service he received recently. He came in for a routine wellness checkup, and the four-member team detected something out of the ordinary.
“They checked my blood pressure, sight, vision and hearing, and all was good until a doctor came and put a stethoscope up to my chest,” said Stewart, who is a pawn broker in Phoenix. “They told me that I have an irregular heartbeat. But other than that, I think I’m pretty healthy.”
The future of the clinic is also looking healthy, and many health-care organizations are looking at SHOW as a pioneer model, including the National Data Repository, which is collecting information from the clinic and dispensing it to interested clients.
“We get calls from people in other states curious about what we’re doing here and what is working. When other providers come here on the weekends to check us out, it just clicks for them,” said Singh. “I heard one health professional say, ‘I’ve been practicing for 20 years, and I’ve never seen it done this way. And when I go back to the hospital, I’ll think about doing it this way.’ It’s interesting to see them buy into this model.”
Harrell said SHOW is succeeding because the clinic is a “flattened hierarchy” where the students’ opinions matter just as much as the supervisors.
“Part of the problem in health care is that it’s traditionally been physician-focused, with that physician as the head of the team. No one person knows all,” Harrell said. “Part of interdisciplinary care is decision making is shared equally amongst the disciplines allowing for a more holistic care plan, thus improved quality care and greater provider satisfaction. We work very hard to make sure everybody is equal.”
And all things being equal, SHOW is emerging as a new health-care model around the country.
“Because SHOW isn’t constrained with the typical red tape associated with health care, we can try new ideas when it comes to patient care,” Harrell said. “We all know the recommendation is for us to do this, but who else can do this?
“The answer is ‘We can do this!’”
Wandering Paws will operate 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through April. The human clinic, SHOW, runs 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays year-round. Both are at the Human Services Campus, 230 S 12th Ave., Phoenix.