Agents of Change – Final Showcase Presentation

On Monday, April 25 the third cohort of the annual Agents of Change Challenge Grant presented their work and achievements of the past 15 months. After kicking off in February 2015 at a snowy retreat in Andover, Massachusetts, the MOMS (Medical Students Offering Maternal Support) and Reach teams had built strong partnerships with their respective community health centers, Dimock and MGH Revere, and made tangible impact in the communities they serve.

The goal of the MOMS program is to address high infant mortality rates among disadvantaged populations. The MOMS team is led by medical students Mary Tate and Dodie Rimmelin, and public health students Tiffany Lin, Allison Blajda, and Ellen Fugate. The program matches at-risk expecting mothers with first-year medical students to provide social support and pre-natal coaching. Participants go through a comprehensive curricular program to prepare them to provide these supports to patients and to build a community within the medical school of students, instructors, and mentors.

MOMS shared how they have fine-tuned their program by incorporating feedback from program participants, to great success. The current cohort is happy to report that one participating mom has already given birth to a healthy baby girl, with her medical student pair by her side. MOMS has gained support from HMS to continue after the AoC grant period, and the team is putting together materials that will allow other medical schools around the country to adopt similar models. Team chemistry has also been a highlight of the MOMS team; Dodie Rimmelin, third-year medical student and MOMS member, commented, “This has been the best team experience of my life.”

The Reach team is led by HMS residents in internal medicine Craig Monsen, Shubha Bhat, Luis Ticona, Anant Vinjamoori, and medical and MBA student Jay Kumar. Reach set out to reduce the no-show rate at MGH Revere through using a multi-lingual text messaging platform to remind patients of upcoming appointments. The service communicates to patients in their preferred language and reduces legwork required of administrators to remind patients of their appointments.

Reach discussed all that they’ve learned from running a series of “experiments” to test their multi-lingual text message appointment reminder system. While they didn’t see a statistically significant reduction in the no-show rate, satisfaction among patients and practice administrators was very high. Nearly everyone who used the Reach platform was pleased with its functionality, and the team has managed to integrate it with the Revere scheduling system. While a Partners Health system-wide solution is in the works (of which Revere is a part), the Reach platform will continue to operate until the systemwide solution is in place. In summarizing what he takes away from the experience, team member Dr. Craig Monsen said, “Participating in AoC has totally changed the way I view community health centers. I now view them as innovation partners, not just a site of care.”