The Goals of the San Diego Health & Faith Alliance are still in formation. The seven basic goals as envisioned to date are:
We are first and foremost an organization that facilitates professional training programs. The San Diego Health & Faith Alliance exists to develop and enable an innovative team-training experience for future physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and those who provide pastoral care. The actual training done at the clinical sites of the San Diego Health & Faith Alliance is conducted by accredited universities with certified training programs in the healing arts. In the course of the training, health care services will be provided free of charge to people who are not able to afford health care insurance. There are hundreds of thousands of people in San Diego County who do not have health care insurance and we will not be able to help most of such a large number, but we will do as much as we can, with what we have. One agency that works in collaboration with the SDH&FA, St. Vincent de Paul Village's licensed community clinic (which is a free clinic), will serve as one of several referral resources for those who need more than can be done at the SDH&FA clinical sites in San Diego. Referrals will also be made to other community clinics and to health care providers who serve patients free of charge, as well as to area hospitals, when needed.
We will do our training and provide health care services at the site of the faith-based organizations, non-public schools, and community service agencies that agree to host the SDH&FA's training programs at their site. By collaborating with the various congregations, we will be able to work with the faith community as a trusted point of entry, and the people we serve will have the benefit of the pastoral care in their own faith community. The health care providers can have input from, and have liaison with, the faith-based organizations. (Patient confidentiality must be maintained according to professional standards and applicable state and federal laws.)
The congregation or non-profit agency that hosts the SDH&FA's clinical training programs will be encouraged to form a "health cabinet" (of parishioners/users of the agency's service) that will assess the health care needs of their community to determine what kinds of health care support are needed (we can help them do the needs assessment if they need help). After an assessment has been done, the needs are relayed to the nurse-liaison who works with that community, and she/he will help determine how the needs can be met. Outcomes studies will be recommended at least annually, possibly more often in the beginning, with adjustments to the services as needed, and as feasible. This process is called "Community Oriented Primary Care" (COPC).
We envision a strong nurse outreach component in the SDH&FA. Student nurses will go to the various parishes/congregations or agencies (with their faculty) to do patient education, screening, chronic disease management, immunization days, etc. There will also be Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) trainees (and their faculty) who will go to the host parishes/congregations or agencies to provide counseling services/therapy for those with counseling or mental health needs. The UCSD Combined Family Medicine-Psychiatry Residents will provide the family physician backup to the nurses and MFT's; traditional family medicine residents from UCSD will rotate through the clinical sites, and other trainees from UCSD School of Medicine may join us as well. Students from the UCSD School of Pharmacy will be members of the team serving patients at the SDH&FA sites, including doctoral students who will provide consultation to the physicians and direct service to patients. With the approval of the pastor, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) students will also be members of the professional team. (CPE students may be clergy, seminarians, religious, or lay people who are enrolled in an accredited training program devoted to providing pastoral education and improving the quality of ministry and pastoral care: www.acpe.edu )
The health care services that are provided (by student nurses, by student MFT's, doctor of pharmacy students, and by resident physicians) will be provided by professionals in-training who are doing their clinical hours and assignments required for graduation, licensure and/or board certification. The current term for this in the literature is "service-learning" in which trainees do their required clerkships in service to patients who would not have access to care otherwise. One awesome aspect of doing something like this with the energy of service-learners is that, in just a few years' time, hundreds of professionals will have trained in this paradigm, and they will carry these spiritual and humanitarian values (service to the poor) forward into their professional lives. So this is more than just meeting a need in the moment for someone who cannot afford health care (although that is a great thing that will be done), it is shaping the future of health care and delivery of human services by shaping the values of the individuals who train in this setting.
In summary, the San Diego Health & Faith Alliance aspires to:
Facilitate the training of future professionals - The SDH&FA is fundamentally a service-learning project, and while training we will…
provide Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC)
free of charge to people who cannot afford health care insurance
we will do this in collaboration with the faith-based community and other community service agencies
there will be a nurse outreach component ("parish nursing"), a counseling component (MFT's), and a clinical pharmacy component, in addition to the family physician/psychiatrists, and other resident physicians. With approval of the pastor, CPE trainees will also be part of the team.
the work will be done by "service-learners" (and their faculty) in a multi-disciplinary team (and multi-university team)
The above goals include the aspects of the SDH&FA that deal only with "service-learning," and we have learned from our work and from community meetings to date that there are several additional functions that the SDH&FA can perform, among them:
Provide assistance to geographically outlying groups (e.g., parishes in Alpine, Ramona, Oceanside) that wish to start parish nurse programs
Provide training, support and networking for current parish nurses and other church based health ministries.
Although the formal educational model may not be needed in these last two groups, there seems to be a need and interest in certain training and support services that are a natural fit for the SDH&FA.