Venice Family Clinic announces next step in homeless health care

Originally published in Patch – March 4, 2022

BY NICOLE CHARKY

Venice Family Clinic announced this week that it has launched its Street Medicine Curriculum, a detailed training guide designed to inspire and educate the next generation of homeless health care providers.

The nonprofit community health center provides care to more than 45,000 people in Los Angeles County and it was the first community health center in L.A. County to send health care providers into the streets to provide care to people experiencing homelessness, according to the organization.

From this start in 1985, the clinic created a street medicine program that has grown to nine teams with eleven health care providers. Medical residents, students and other health care providers often join the Clinic’s teams to learn how to provide care to people experiencing homelessness.

“In developing the Street Medicine Curriculum, our goal is to build a skilled and compassionate community so that together we can ensure that all our neighbors in need can be healthy and housed,” Dr. Coley M. King, Venice Family Clinic’s director of homeless health care services, said in a statement.

“People experiencing homelessness face enormous health challenges and place significant burdens on our health care system,” King said. “Our challenge is to do everything we can to locate these unsheltered individuals, meet their survival needs and deliver quality health care to each and every person.”

Venice Family Clinic’s leadership in homeless health care led the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to provide the funding to develop the Street Medicine Curriculum, which provides students and practitioners with clinical and social tools to address the complex challenges people experiencing homelessness face. The grant also provided funding to build a structure for training students and medical residents.

The curriculum provides integrated, evidence-based guidelines for street medicine with the best practices in social care. It details how to approach individuals on the street and deal with the variety of issues they may have, including trauma, substance use disorders and mental illness. The curriculum also describes how health care providers can work with other agencies that provide services to people experiencing homelessness to ensure patients have access to housing, transportation and other services that also have an impact on their health and well-being.

Venice Family Clinic is making the Street Medicine Curriculum available online and through printed documents to health care providers, educators and students.

Venice Family Clinic is a leader in providing comprehensive, high-quality primary health care to people in need. Having recently merged with South Bay Family Health Care, the combined organization serves 45,000 patients through 17 locations in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood, Culver City, Redondo Beach, Carson, Gardena and Hawthorne plus two mobile clinics and an expansive street medicine program for people experiencing homelessness. visit VeniceFamilyClinic.org for more information about the organization.