Miller Student Receives AMA Recognition for Patient Education Initiative

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine student Johanna Kreafle recently won an American Medical Association poster competition for a novel program she co-founded that educates patients about their health in the waiting room as part of their doctor visits.

“We were excited about how well the program was received,” said Kreafle, who started the education program at the local San Juan Bosco Medical Clinic in 2012, along with fellow third-year medical students Rachita Sood and Heisy Asusta.

More than 400 of the country’s best residents, students and fellows competed in seven categories at the AMA Research Symposium held November 7 in Dallas. Kreafle won the poster category for public health and epidemiology.

“The conference provided an opportunity to present our work and share with students from other schools,” said Kreafle, whose presentation titled “Implementation of a Sustainable Patient Education Program in a Student-Run Free Clinic” outlined the development of the education program and survey research showing that patients who received the consultations saw them as valuable.

The San Juan Bosco Medical Clinic is a free evening clinic staffed by volunteer UM physicians, residents, and medical students. Kreafle, Sood and Asusta provide the 10-minute patient education consults on internal medicine nights, held two to three times a month. The one-on-one sessions are held in the waiting room before patients see their doctors.

“The educational sessions help patients better comply with their doctors’ recommendations, as they have a better understanding of their conditions,” said Kreafle.

The students started the program their first year of medical school with the help of the UM chapter of the AMA and the Miller School’s DOCS (Department of Community Service) program.

“The students’ work is worthy of recognition and another example of how the DOCS program provides our students with opportunities to develop their professionalism and leadership skills while improving the health of our most vulnerable populations,” said Mark O’Connell, M.D., faculty advisor to the DOCS program and Senior Associate Dean for Educational Development.

Located at 730 NW 34th St., near the neighborhood of Allapattah, the San Juan Bosco Clinic provides primary and specialty care to many uninsured patients. Not only is the education program a good use of waiting room time, it gives the clinic an important resource to adequately inform patients of their health.

The clinical education modules focus on evidence-based recommendations for diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, as patients with those ailments are commonly seen and would benefit from personalized information and counseling. However, the brief sessions also cover nutrition and exercise. Patients receive additional informational handouts.

Miller School faculty say the clinic was an incredible addition to the community health facility and exemplifies the mission of the DOCS program.

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