NIAID Docs Bolster Community Care
By Tia Frazier
Since 1994, a group of NIAID physicians has been working in underserved Washington area neighborhoods with community physicians caring for growing populations of HIV and TB- infected clients. Dr. H. Clifford Lane spearheaded the outreach effort, known as the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Study Support Project, with the goal of expanding the public's access to clinical trials.
Forming partnerships with the five urban clinics and local health departments has been rewarding for the insitute in many ways. A number of patients seen by NIAID physicians in the community clinics have enrolled in NIH-sponsored trials. A project participant, Dr. Henry Masur, explains, "Our institutes want to help a broad spectrum of people overcome potential barriers that might prevent their participation in research." Helpful aid provided by the program includes teaching materials appropriate for non-English speakers and people of low literacy levels, funds for Metro travel and meals, assistance with child care arrangements, and escorts for patients making their first visit to the Clinical Center.
Perhaps the biggest reward for NIAID participants is the opportunity to learn from their community physician colleagues about the needs of patient populations very different from those traditionally seen at NIH. Dr. Judith Falloon reports, "At this point, Dr. John Hogan (of the Upper Cardozo Clinic) teaches us more than we teach him."
The NIAID outreach efforts are currently supported by Masur, Falloon and Drs. Michael Polis, Kirk Miller, and Laura O'Bryan, as well as onsite social work and nursing personnel. Agencies hosting institute employees include the Upper Cardozo Clinic, the Shelter at 3rd and C Streets, La Clinica de Pueblo, and the health departments of Prince George's, Montgomery and Arlington counties.
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