$10,000 grant awarded will impact health of homeless patients at HOPE
Misa Mi, Ph.D., M.L.I.S., associate professor and health information specialist, OUWB Medical Library and Jason Wasserman, associate professor, bioethics, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Misa Mi, Ph.D., M.L.I.S., associate professor and health information specialist, OUWB Medical Library, received a $10,000 award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region (under the NIH National Library of Medicine) to support the first recuperative care center in Michigan at HOPE Hospitality and Warming Center in Pontiac.

The grant will help equip this center with a computer, printer, tablet, flash drives and develop an information resources station with a print and online collection of patient education/consumer health materials that will enable these patients to educate themselves about their medical conditions.

“This population needs our attention, and I want to make a difference by using my skills and knowledge as a health information specialist to benefit them,” says Mi.

Underserved homeless patients, who need a clean, safe environment upon being discharged from the hospital, find shelter at the recuperative center at HOPE, Helping Oakland’s People Everyday. She says that teaching these clients how to identify, access, and evaluate information about their health conditions will empower them with skills they can utilize after leaving recuperative care and provide them information that will improve their ability to advocate for themselves in seeking services and health care.

Jason Wasserman, associate professor, bioethics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, collaborated with Mi on the proposal. He understands the health challenges this population faces, as he has spent a decade studying homelessness and health. Wasserman has published articles on the topic, written a book called, At Home on the Street and directed the documentary film, American Refugees.

“We’re trying to close that gap between the homeless patient and the clinician,” says Wasserman. “We want to help them navigate their health care; empower them to interact with clinicians. If they have some knowledge of their disease, and they know what the possible treatments can be, they will be better prepared to talk with a physician.”

OUWB Medical Library Technology Specialist Mitchell Roe will serve as the technical consultant. He will install and set up the computer workstation. OUWB medical student Sameen Ansari has chosen this topic as her Embark research and will assist Mi on this project.

Mi also states that the ultimate goal of the outreach project is to help reduce homeless patients’ visits to hospital emergency rooms by developing their skills in finding and using trustworthy health information from the National Library of Medicine and other health professional organizations. She plans to have the information resources station ready for use in the HOPE Recuperative Care Center by May 2017.