Casa de Salud: A Community and University Partnership
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DuBard and Gizlice (2008) reported that Spanish language preference is a marker for poorer access to care and preventive health services. Carr (2006) cited fear of detection and cultural/language barriers to care as major factors influencing access to care by the immigrant population. When La Clinica in St. Louis closed its doors in the spring of 2009, there was a void left for the immigrant population seeking health care. Just as the Guadalupe Centers in Kansas City are community-based social service agencies, bridging the gap between the newly arrived Hispanic immigrants and the health care system, so too Casa de Salud seeks to bridge that gap in St. Louis by providing community-based health and wellness services. Casa de Salud, on the Saint Louis University campus, opened its doors on January 18, 2010. Championed by Father Biondi, President of Saint Louis University, and Bob Fox, Chair of the Casa de Salud Board of Directors, Casa de Salud is committed to welcoming the immigrant community in Saint Louis and integrating them into the existing and larger preventive health and primary care services provided by primary care homes of local community health centers. The aim of this presentation is to give an overview of the care processes involved in accomplishing this purpose: Describe the St. Louis context for the development of pre-access to primary care ; Provide abstractions of Casa's referral experiences ; Reflect upon the experiences ; Articulate and illustrate the current Casa referral template. Methods include four steps: context, experience, reflection, and action. The context in which Casa de Salud exists sets the stage for the article. Experiences accrued during the first three months since Casa's opening illustrate the learning that has occurred as well as the services provided. Reflection upon the experiences provides an opportunity to extract principles that guide the referral process. The lessons learned from our experiences resulted in the development of an action plan.