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BU medical students have been awarded national awards for eliminating traffic barriers for patients.

Two medical students from Boston University of Medicine (BUSM) Lancet Global Health "Uber Health: Urban OBGYN A New Student Poster for a presentation called" A New Way to Eliminate Traffic Barriers for Refugee Women. " This award was presented by a consortium of universities for global health.

Simone Vais, a third-year student, and Justin Siu, a second-year student, began this work as part of their summer research project. Boston Medical Center (BMC) Refugee Women's Health Clinic (RWHC) focuses on overcoming traffic barriers to health care access.

Lack of transportation has become a major obstacle to healthcare approaches nationwide. It affects patients with disproportionately low socioeconomic status. This barrier is particularly burdensome for RWHC patients. Many people report that they are unfamiliar with the public transport system and have tended to live in a group society that has sparked past trauma that has hit many crowds with buses and trains and is not well connected.

The pilot project uses Uber Health, a Uber platform healthcare department, to provide transportation to and from clinics for patients experiencing traffic insecurity. The Uber platform allows medical institutions to plan and pay for riding on behalf of their patients.

Nine months later, students found that their project reduced the incidence of patient shows, increased patient satisfaction, and achieved significant cost savings. Students are now working on additional funding so pilots can continue to provide this service to their patients.

Vais is interested in improving the quality of care and focuses on improving treatment access to the underprivileged population. She is working on a new pilot study at BMC's Pediatric Sickle Cell Clinic and General Pediatrics to expand the use of Uber Health to cope with traffic instability beyond RWHC.

Siu holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Global Medicine Management from the University of Southern California and is interested in integrating knowledge in clinical management with experience in global medicine. He traveled to Thailand, Panama and Tijuana for a variety of clinical projects and last year he co-hosted the Global Health Equity Program elective at BUSM.

Provided by Boston University School of Medicine

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