Poverty Study Wraps Up At OU-Tulsa

Friday, July 31st 2009, 4:20 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A unique program has wrapped up at OU-Tulsa.  The School of Community Medicine has spent the week helping its first year healthcare students come to terms with how social issues affect health.

Over the past few weeks, healthcare has been a major topic.

"It really is an anti-isolation experiment, getting the students to think beyond themselves and even beyond one on one patient care," said Dr. Gerry Clancy with the OU School of Community Medicine.

The focus of the summer institute has been how social issues, such as poverty or family environment, impact someone's health. 

Chad Knight plans to go into internal medicine.  He says the week long process, especially the poverty simulation where he was taken to a mock jail, opened his eyes to the larger problem of healthcare and ways to solve the problem.      

"It was really frustrating because you see that the healthcare needs are dependent on the whole community. So, if you want to find a solution to the problems here in the community, it's going to take everyone working together," said medical student Chad Knight.

Knight says before the institute he had thoughts of working in underserved areas, but didn't realize just how much quality healthcare is needed.

"I always knew it was important, but not to the extent.  I never saw the need I wasn't aware of the disparities," said medical student Chad Knight.

A successful mission, organizers say, now they hope these future doctors, nurses, and pharmacists take this experience from the classroom to the exam room.

Any of the students who agree to work in low-income communities can qualify for a special scholarship.