Poster Presenter: Prarthana Jain, DO, MPH, Second-Year Rheumatology Fellow, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Poster Title: Optimizing Rural Rheumatology Access: Collaborative Tele-Health Clinic Between University of North Carolina and Piedmont Health 1 Year Extension and Opportunities for Improvement
Poster Session B: Monday, Nov. 13
What is your poster about?
“My poster is centered around our collaborative telehealth clinic between the University of North Carolina (UNC) Rheumatology Clinic and Piedmont Health Services (PHS), which is a federally qualified health center serving patients in rural North Carolina. This project was initially started in January 2022 and supported by a grant from the Arthritis Foundation. It involves a model connecting an on-site primary care provider with a virtual rheumatologist to provide care for underserved patients in rural North Carolina. This poster evaluates the one-year extension data for this clinic, including the demographics of patients who were enrolled, satisfaction of patients and providers, as well as opportunities for improvement.”
Why did you decide to investigate this topic?
“There is a shortage of rheumatologists in most of the country, and this is projected to only get worse over the next decade. The people who are most affected by this shortage are ethnic minority patients, particularly those who live in rural areas and face barriers such as transportation, lack of insurance, poor health literacy, and/or language barriers, as well as ability to access technology. These patients experience a ‘dual disparity’ and often lack access to subspecialty care. This first led Alfredo Rivadeneira, MD, and Rumey Ishizawar, MD, PhD, my mentors at UNC, to start this collaborative clinic with primary care providers within PHS. Since its initiation, several others have gotten involved in different aspects of this clinic. It provides an opportunity for many of us to come together to give back to the local community.”
What are you working on next related to this research?
“The next phase of this project is focused on community provider empowerment and education. We have conducted a needs assessment with PHS primary care providers to identify barriers their patients face in seeking rheumatic care, as well as opportunities to enhance community provider knowledge and involvement in managing basic rheumatic conditions. Next steps are focused on optimizing the educational program for primary care providers. We hope to ultimately build a model that is scalable to other rural healthcare centers.”
“I really enjoy being able to combine my interest and love for public health with my passion for rheumatology.”— Prarthana Jain, DO, MPH
What excites you most about your work?
“The most exciting part of being involved with this project is getting to serve underserved patients. As a first-generation immigrant, I’ve always had a passion for this type of work. This led me to getting my MPH degree to be able to work on health disparities projects that involve community outreach and education. Now as a rheumatology fellow, I really enjoy being able to combine my interest and love for public health with my passion for rheumatology.”
What are you most looking forward to at ACR Convergence 2023 in San Diego?
“I am really looking forward to hearing from experts in the field, as well as meeting other fellows and rheumatologists from different institutions. ACR is such a wonderful opportunity to network and get to know other like-minded individuals who all have the same goal of improving care for patients with rheumatic disease.”