Combined human and veterinary services improve access to primary care for homeless youth and their pets

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Newswise – In 2018, a multidisciplinary team in Seattle created a combined clinical space to care for homeless youth and their pets. The One Health Clinic, based at New Horizons, a homeless youth shelter in Seattle, is simultaneously providing primary health care and veterinary care to youths and their pets after a community needs assessment determined revealed that owning a pet was a barrier to accessing health services. The OHC is currently offered as a 4-hour session twice a month, with human and animal health covered on each visit. According to the authors, “Many homeless people own pets that provide them with emotional support and other health benefits…This integrated model harnesses the power of the human-animal bond to increase access to primary care for homeless people, many of whom prioritize caring for their animals over caring for themselves.OHC also provides interdisciplinary learning opportunities between medical students, veterinary students and other healthcare professionals. OHC offers a free toolkit of protocols and best practices for other groups interested in starting a One Health clinic in the United States or Canada. Find it at www.onehealthclinic.org

A unique health clinic for homeless people and their animals: treating the human-animal unit
Alice H. Tin, MD MPH, et al
Swedish Family Medicine Residency Cherry Hill, Seattle

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Annals of Family Medicine is an indexed, peer-reviewed research journal that provides an interdisciplinary forum for new evidence-based information affecting primary care disciplines. Launched in May 2003, Annals is sponsored by seven family medicine organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Board of Family Medicine, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors, the North American Primary Care Research Group and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Annals is published six times a year and contains original research in the fields of clinical, biomedical, social and health services, as well as contributions on methodology and theory, selected reviews, essays and editorials. Full editorial content and interactive discussion groups for each published article are available free of charge on the journal’s website, www.AnnFamMed.org.

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