Community Partner Perspectives on a Medical-Student-Led Patient Navigator Program for Persons Experiencing Homelessness

  • Shyamal Waghwala
  • Drupad Annapureddy UT Southwestern Medical School
  • Hunter Cheng
  • Tanvi Ingle
  • Luke Coffman
  • Shelley Speed
  • Patrice Denning
  • Nora Gimpel


As the number of Persons Experiencing Homelessness (PEH) rises, their unique needs remain unmet. Patient Navigator Programs (PNPs) aim to fulfill these needs by partnering PEH with well-resourced navigators. A medical-student-run PNP has been founded in partnership with Union Gospel Mission (UGM) Dallas to address these needs while better preparing future physicians. Six semi-structured interviews of UGM staff were conducted and analyzed to assess community partner perspectives of this program. Most interviewees reported that their and clients’ experiences have been largely positive, citing success reaching goals and finding resources. Although obstacles were identified, most respondents observed growth in program scope and considered medical students beneficial assets. Being aware of PEH’s unique needs and remaining flexible were noted as advice for future programs. Despite minor challenges and points for growth, positive perceptions of this medical-student-run PNP provide a better understanding of the partnership between this program and its community partner.