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AAMC Telehealth Equity Catalyst Awards

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The AAMC is excited to announce the five awardees of the AAMC’s new Telehealth Equity Catalyst “TEC” Awards. The following programs demonstrate a positive impact on barriers associated with telehealth and health technology across clinical delivery and medical training, particularly for underserved and vulnerable populations. Through these innovative programs and others, the AAMC aims to learn how member institutions are addressing and mitigating these barriers to care and how best practices can be spread across health systems to advance health care equity. For questions, please contact telehealth@aamc.org

Connecticut Children’s—Pediatric Residency Telemedicine Curriculum

Designed during the COVID-19 pandemic as essential workforce, the UConn Pediatric Residency Telemedicine Curriculum is a new, longitudinal rotation required for all residents in the program. Over a 3-year progressive program, residents learn to conduct telemedicine to deliver primary and specialty pediatric care to children and families in Hartford, Connecticut under the supervision of Department of Pediatrics faculty. This curriculum includes explicit learning opportunities to recognize and mitigate unintentional biases and other sociocultural impediments to equitable access to telemedicine care.  The training was developed with the recognition that the pediatric telemedicine program’s true measure of success is ensuring equal access to all pediatric patients, particularly youth underserved by traditional healthcare delivery: those living in poverty, racial/ethnic minority group members, LGBTQ youth, and children and adolescents with physical, emotional and cognitive limitations historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

GW Medical Faculty Associates—HealthDesk

HealthDesk, a collaboration between The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, GW Medical Faculty Associates, and Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, seeks to improve digital health literacy to overcome socio-economic barriers and improve access to healthcare and healthcare resources. The HealthDesk achieves this through setting up pop-ups throughout D.C. to have one-on-one interactions with community residents. Key components for HealthDesk pop-ups include, improving access to healthcare via assistance with downloading health portals and scheduling apps for traditional medical practices, providing targeted and vetted educational information, and prescribing digital therapeutics targeted to the individual needs of participants. HealthDesk has been a pioneer in addressing these health disparities by increasing digital health literacy to increase access to healthcare resources in an innovative way leveraging a community-academic partnership that meet residents where they are: on the street and in local gatherings, communicating with those in need. Learn more about GW’s HealthDesk.

University of Florida Health Jacksonville—Expansion of a Telemedicine Program for Patients with HIV to Include Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

In 2017, University of Florida (UF) Health Jacksonville developed a robust telemedicine program for patients with HIV by offering medical care via telemedicine at the University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education & Service. This 3-year demonstration project was a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UF Health Jacksonville to assess the feasibility of providing HIV care via telemedicine to enhance retention in HIV care, specifically for racial and ethnic minorities. As part of this project, a community advisory board was engaged, a marketing campaign created, and standard operating procedures and training materials were developed for both patients and providers. By offering virtual visits, the program aims to address patient-level barriers, including transportation and visit time, and system-level barriers, such as physician caseload and appointment backlogs associated with retention. Learn more about UF’s Virtual Health program. 

University of Michigan—GET Access (Geriatric Education on Telehealth)

GET Access, the Geriatric Education on Telehealth Access program, is a medical student volunteer initiative developed in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase access to and comfort with technology needed for healthcare video visits for older adults. Volunteers contact patients who requested telephone visits, or their caregivers, prior to the clinical encounter. They assess access to video visits through the Mi-Chart (Epic) portal or other platforms, and practice a healthcare visit using patient tailored coaching without time constraints. The program addresses several factors that limit use of video visits by geriatric patients, including tech literacy, portal enrollment and comfort with technology. 

Wayne State University—Interprofessional Telehealth Training Using a Standardized Patient

To address disparities in care, Wayne State University (WSU) collaboratively developed with the Michigan Area Health Education Center (MI AHEC), a telehealth curriculum for health professional students from the School of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, and School of Social Work. It is part of a university wide effort to enhance interprofessional education (IPE) across all professional schools with the larger aim of using IPE and interprofessional practice during health professional training to address bias, structural racism and health disparities experienced by the local community and across communities in Michigan including both urban and rural communities. The telehealth curriculum includes training modules that address the specific choice of telehealth method and emphasizes implications related to disparities. This curriculum ensures foundational knowledge in Telehealth addressing the competencies developed by the AAMC to prepare health professional students in the use of: 1) collaborative practice models of care and 2) Telehealth to deliver care.

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