Community Homeless Interprofessional Program (CHIP)

CHIP students
CHIP student and alumni leaders outside the Cathedral Church of St. Paul

The Wayne State Interprofessional (WSI) student org was created to better support ongoing interprofessional projects and community service efforts as well as provide opportunities for future collaboration between health care and other professional students. WSI is the student organization that provides leadership for the Community Homeless Interprofessional Program (CHIP). CHIP is an interprofessional, student-run free clinic that has been developed as a collaboration between health professions students and faculty of pharmacy, medicine, social work, and physical therapy and has been developed as a community partnership with the Cathedral Church of St. Paul located at 4800 Woodward Ave. in

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What are the goals for CHIP stakeholders (students, faculty, and patients)?

  1. Students: Develop students' skills in functioning in collaborative interprofessional (IP) teams while developing social awareness and the necessary health profession attributes of compassion, understanding of social and health determinants, and professionalism.
  2. Faculty: Provide supervision for students to discipline-specific roles, emulate values, and collaborate with colleagues and students to care for these underserved individuals.
  3. Patients: Receive basic health assessment and medical, medication, physical movement, and social resource education in order to improve their navigation of local medical and community resources.

What is the public health significance of CHIP?

Over 86,000 persons are homeless in Michigan, and more than half are families with children. Specifically, in metropolitan Detroit, there are about 35,000 homeless or underinsured. The objective in helping the homeless is to improve their quality of life and use of medical and community resources more effectively in order to alleviate the individual and societal burdens. Free food service to the homeless in the city of Detroit is more limited on weekends as are health care options. In response, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul offers breakfast to homeless individuals between Sunday services, and invited the students and faculty of health professions at Wayne State University (WSU) to partner with them to offer basic health assessment and service on the same day. Thus, the partnership between the Cathedral and WSU resulted in the first CHIP in March 2014 attempting to improve the nutritional and spiritual support, and access to healthcare and social education to presenting homeless individuals.

What is the rationale and approach of student engagement at CHIP?

Wayne State University's vision is to prepare students and to provide "meaningful engagement in our urban community." CHIP aims to educate an interprofessional student body through hands-on clinical experience while serving our local community. It further strives to address the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Core Competencies (IPEC 2011, 2016) in the following manner:

IPEC 1 (Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice): At each CHIP session, students attend an interprofessional orientation and debrief.  IP teams are assigned during orientation and there are usually five teams made up of medical, pharmacy, social work and physical therapy students. During the orientation, each discipline shares their plan for assessing the homeless patient. For example, medical students address disease-specific issues; pharmacy-medication management and adverse reactions; social work- resources in the community; physical therapy- movement, mobility and strength. Each IP team is assigned individual patients during the clinic. At the clinic's end, during the debrief, each team picks one case to share with the students and faculty and discuss what they observed or counseled the patient on. Faculty and other students respectfully ask clarifying questions or provide additional information. 

IPEC 2 (Roles/Responsibilities): In each clinic room, discipline-specific patient assessment tools are used by the students to appropriately address the needs of the patients. The faculty preceptors sign off on these assessments.

IPEC 3 (Interprofessional Communication):  Each IP team collaborates to ensure effective communication with patients in the delivery of care provided. 

IPEC 4 (Teams and Teamwork):  At CHIP, the IP student teams assess self-identified patients. After assessing each patient, the students then develop and communicate plans for the patient's disease states, provide health and community resource education, and give referrals that address their client's medical, pharmacy, movement, and social needs. Every CHIP patient is provided a one-on-one opportunity to provide feedback on the service they received, immediately after seeing a team.  This feedback is communicated to all student and faculty during the debrief, thus allowing for patient input and the opportunity to adjust if needed the protocols of this IPE clinic.

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CHIP has received both local and national recognition for their efforts:

CHIP in the news

Faculty contacts

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