Community Outreach Homeless Project
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing PreSpecialty students in Enhancement of Community and Population Health helped more than 85 members of Nashville's transient population during a Room In The Inn health event, the culmination of two semesters of weekly sessions with a population included those without shelter, homeless veterans, and those homeless recently discharged from the hospital in need of respite care.
Room In The Inn is a network of more than 180 congregations in Middle Tennessee that offers emergency services, transitional programs and long-term solutions to help people who live on the streets of Nashville. During extreme weather months in winter and summer, the group also provides shelter.
Working with VUSN Assistant Professor Tom Cook, PhD, RN, and Room In The Inn's Quianna Jimerson, the students evaluated the aggregate health-care disparities and needs. The students then applied evidencebased knowledge and best practices to achieve reasonably sustainable outcomes.
Local nurse Saman Perera is fighting health care inequality through Doctors Without Borders. He worked in a refugee camp hospital in Bentiu, South Sudan, made up of 130,000 residents. The camp was created after conflict broke out in the area due to civil war.
"I wanted to go into health care to work with Doctors Without Borders," Perera said. "I can't tell you exactly what it was; it was just a feeling." Shortly after getting his degree, Perera applied and was recruited to be a nurse for Doctors Without Borders. He was first sent to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 to help with the cholera outbreak. The next year, he went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work in primary care. Perera also worked on the frontlines of Chad, where he treated war-wounded victims, and in the Central African Republic, where Christian and Muslim groups were having violent clashes.
"I started out with Doctors Without Borders because I wanted to take care of people medically," Perera said. "It's just made me a happier person."
Asthma Project at Napier Elementary School
Three of the six nursing students who participated in the Napier Elementary Group that implemented the asthmaw project this year (2018) were men. This was fortuitous because the community leaders and the school have shared that male nursing student involvement in the lives of the children in this community is an ongoing need. Asthma is a disease of disparity, predominantly affecting African American males and having higher morbidity and mortality in this population. Napier's asthma intervention participants are primarily African American males.