In homeless population, initiative breaks down barriers to diabetes care
BOSTON — In this video exclusive, Neena Agarwal Xavier, MD, assistant professor and course director for the clinical medicine course series at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, discusses the unique challenges in managing diabetes in the homeless population.
Xavier, also a volunteer medical supervisor for the Firehouse Shelter’s Wellness Clinic, a student-run, interprofessional clinic in Birmingham, noted that the local homeless population she serves must confront several barriers to care, including a lack of transportation to the clinic, using the ER for basic medical care and no place to store their insulin, leading to a high rate of medication spoiling.
Through several grants, Xavier and her team created an initiative to provide on-site care at the shelter, including full physicals, lipid and HbA1c screenings and glucose checks, as well as transportation from the shelter to the medical clinic for diabetes education and supplies.
“So far, 75% of the patients that we’ve screened have received follow-up within 3 months of their diagnosis, as well as more continued follow-up for their chronic conditions,” Xavier said. “Also, other schools within UAB are becoming more actively engaged, including the dentistry school and the school of medicine.”