Abstract: The Thrive COVID Call Center: An Interdisciplinary Student-Led Collaboration to Advance Community Health (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

The Thrive COVID Call Center: An Interdisciplinary Student-Led Collaboration to Advance Community Health

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Encanto A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Linda Sprague Martinez, PhD, Associate Professor, Boston University, Boston, MA
Berit Lindell, Student, Boston University, Boston, MA
Divya Satishchandra, Student, Boston University, Boston, MA
Kirsten Mojziszek, Student, Boston University, Boston, MA
Katy Janvier, Student, Boston University, Boston, MA
Cindy Tao, Student, Boston University, Boston, MA
Noelle Dimitri, PhD, LICSW, Assistant Professor, Simmons University, Boston, MA
Pablo Buitrón De la Vega, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor, Boston University, Boston, MA
Background: Health inequities are spurred in part by residential segregation and disinvestment which have created separate and inequitable living conditions for communities of color resulting in resource deprivation and risk exposure. The social circumstances within which people live work and play, have been estimated to account for up to 70% of variation in health outcomes (Kressin, Chapman, & Magnani, 2016). Social workers are trained to address social and environmental conditions that produce ill health. This presentation describes a social work medical partnership with the City led by students and designed to leverage local resources to address unmet social needs among Boston residents.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated barriers to food security and housing security for many Bostonians. To address this need, students and faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) partnered with community partners and the City to develop an outreach call center to link COVID-19 patients with local resources. The establishment of the THRIVE COVID Call Center (TCC) and outcome data will be presented.

Methods: Case study design was used to explore program outcomes (Harrison et al., 2017; Yin, 2017). This case study draws on TCC data extracted from the electronic medical record (Epic) inclusive of call volume and number of patients reached; THRIVE Directory reports which are used to document referrals; and student surveys. Extracted medical record and directory data as well as survey data were uploaded and merged. Descriptive statistics were then calculated. Initial analyses along with program documents were then discussed by the team and used to construct the case.

Results: Faculty and students established the TCC at Boston Medical Center, the region’s largest safety-net hospital. Twelve medical students supported by two social work students contacted and screened COVID-19 patients using the THRIVE screening tool. Then drawing on an online repository of resources patients were connected with community resources such as in-home food deliveries as well as city and state resources related to housing security. Between 10/2020 and 03/2021, 312 patients were served and 478 referrals were made, with a mean of 1.53 referrals per patient. Patients were most often referred to City programs (n=188), followed by Boston Medical Center programs (n=133) and Local Non-Profits (n=70). The most common primary support area was Food. The City of Boston Food Delivery service was the most frequently used referral site (n=148 referrals).

Conclusions and Implications: COVID-19 served as a catalyst for medical and social work school faculty and students to launch a call center to address patient social needs. Pre-existing relationships along with city partnerships facilitated the team’s ability to collaborate with partners to address factors such as food insecurity and housing instability, which are not always the focus of medical care. Providers are uniquely poised to document how neighborhood level conditions impact individual wellbeing and social workers play an important role in linking them with community and neighborhood efforts aimed at improving living conditions.