© 2019 Certified Community Health Specialists Foundation

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THE GOAL

 IMAGINE  

 THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE 

 TRAINED IN HOMELESS MEDICINE 

 HELPING ON THE STREETS 

THE GOAL OF THE CCHS PROJECT

The work of a CCHS has been compared to being a volunteer fire spotter for the Forest Service. Fire spotters are placed out in the forest to look for signs of an emergency. The more a fire spotter knows and sees, the better. While a fire spotter might fight a small fire, for anything else a fire spotter calls in better supplied professional fire crews.

 

It is much the same for a CCHS. An MD/DO/NP/PA/RN/EMT, CCHS is placed in the middle of homeless shelters, feeding projects, and other gathering areas to look for signs of an emergency. The more a CCHS knows and sees, the better.

 

The goal is early intervention. The results can truly be lifesaving.

 

For example, the top medical diagnosis of homeless patients who go to Tucson hospitals is cellulitis. Cellulitis is a spreading bacterial infection just below the skin's surface. It is most commonly caused by Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, if cellutltis isn't recognized and treated, a patient may experience such conditions as sepsis, endocarditis, meningitis, shock, and/or gangrene -- all of which can lead to death.

 

One goal of a CCHS is to save lives (and limbs) by spotting the early signs of cellultis. Thanks to extensive training designed and implemented by CCHS Foundation doctors and researchers, the first group of CCHS have become exceptionally good at doing just that.

 

The result? Consider Mark's story:

 

Mark is an 18-year-old homeless man who has spent much of his life on the streets. Because of his combative nature, Mark has been sent away from area clinics and hospitals on multiple occasions. At a recent feeding project, an RN, CCHS noticed Mark limping slightly. The RN, CCHS approached Mark and struck up a conversation -- a conversation made possible by many months of previous casual conversations with Mark. Within minutes, the RN, CCHS had discovered the cause of Marks subtle limp: a not-so-subtle life-threatening skin infection. The RN, CCHS immediately referred Mark to a local clinic for antibiotic treatment and then -- over the next several weeks -- other CCHS found Mark on the streets to make sure the treatment was successful.

 

Mark is just one of the hundreds of homeless patients who have been seen, assessed, and referred by the Tucson CCHS team. Because of this extraordinary record of success with helping and healing homeless patients, the CCHS group now has an even larger goal: the spread of the CCHS project worldwide.

WHY CCHS?

SHORTAGES OF PRIMARY CARE MDs ARE EXPECTED TO REACH 45,000 BY 2020 AND GROW TO 66,000 BY 2025

CO-HOUSING TO AVOID HOMELESSNESS IS UP 67 PERCENT SINCE 2007. WHEN THE NEXT RECESSION HITS, MANY OF THESE PEOPLE WILL BE ON THE STREETS

LARGE CITIES, LIKE CHICAGO, ARE ALREADY EXPERIENCING A NEW EXPLOSION IN THE NUMBER OF HOMELESS FAMILIES

MEDICARE SPENDING IS SLOWING DRAMATICALLY PUTTING EVEN MORE STRESS ON THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

TIMELINE: CCHS ACHIEVEMENTS

TO DATE THE CCHS PROGRAM HAS...

• Researched and developed the CCHS-1 training program (10 modules)

• Researched and published the CCHS-1 Manual (763 pages with over 1,700 citations, view at this link)

• Researched and developed the CCHS-2 training program (10 modules)

• Researched the CCHS-2 Manual (completion date: 2020)

• Developed and taught an upper division course at the University of Arizona (CHS 334) which teaches a sociological approach to homeless medicine to pre-meds, pre-nursing, and pre-social work majors

• Introduced medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine to the CCHS approach in hands-on homeless clinics

• Introduced nursing students at the University of Arizona College of Nursing to the CCHS approach in hands-on homeless clinics

• Taught the CCHS-1 program at the National Medical Academy of Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

• Introduced the CCHS program to the US Public Health Service at the 54th annual USPHS Scientific & Training Symposium in Minneapolis in May of 2019

• Developed over 100 risk assessment sheets for the primary health problems of the homeless

• Trained hundreds of CCHS and CCHS-1 certificate holders

HERE'S WHAT'S COMING UP FOR THE CCHS PROGRAM...

2020

• Launching of the first online CCHS-1 training program through the University of Arizona (CHS 334, Spring semester)

• Development of a customized online CCHS training program through the University of Arizona for the US Public Health Service's 2020 Scientific & Training Symposium in Phoenix

• Development of a customized online CCHS training program through the University of Arizona for the rural health program of Kyrgyzstan

• Launching of the "CCHS Teach to Teach" program where volunteer University of Arizona CCHS instructors teach the CCHS-1 class in Spring semester sabbaticals at other universities worldwide