Jeff Belkora, Professor

Closed (1) The Patient Support Corps at UCSF

Applications for spring 2021 are now closed for this project.

“This apprenticeship has been the highlight of my time at Berkeley. It has given me a chance to help patients in difficult medical situations, and as a pre-health undergraduate, this is important to me.”

“It is a great opportunity to get clinical experience and work with like-minded people who care about creating a change in health care.”

“We have a great deal of autonomy when working with patients, and it is also a rewarding experience because the patients really do appreciate the service that we give them.”

Note: Our services are now delivered remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions. Participating students will need to configure their laptops with UCSF-issued software to access tele-health and related systems. Students will need reliable access to the internet and a quiet and private location in which to perform their duties. Students can participate entirely from remote locations, from training and onboarding into the program, through delivery of services.

For Spring 2021, we are particularly interested in recruiting students who have Cantonese and Spanish language competency; and any medical translation training would be a plus (e.g. Cal VHIO, Labor Coach Program). If applicable, please include these qualifications in your short answer response.

Overall, the Patient Support Corps (PSC) presents a rare opportunity for undergraduates to deliver direct services to patients, and to help evaluate the impact of such patient support.

PSC students go beyond shadowing or observation – we train them to serve as health coaches, navigators, and patient advocates. They are badged as student interns at the UCSF Medical Center.

Our students start with entry-level tasks, such as making outbound calls and documenting interactions with patients. Students who prove themselves very capable then climb the PSC career ladder and are given more responsibility, such as motivational interviewing or scribing.

Because of the intensive training provided, we require a full year academic commitment, and we prioritize students who are interested in participating for multiple years.

PSC interns operate as part of teams that have continual patient care responsibilities. Therefore, we would like students to maintain their shifts during Winter and Spring academic breaks, if possible. We will excuse students from their shifts during exam weeks.

Our team sorts applications by students’ available time slots to and assigns accepted applicants to open roles. The more availability and flexibility you have in your schedule, the greater your chances of matching one of our open time slots. Once accepted to the program, student task assignments may change at any time depending on program needs.

Learning Outcomes: Students will learn skills relevant to the competencies required of physicians by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, in the categories of medical knowledge; patient care; interpersonal communication; systems-based practice; practice-based learning; and professionalism.

Our program also conducts research on the data collected by students regarding patient needs and experiences.

Specific roles, tasks, and learning outcomes include:

Task 1: Clerical or data management work such as online research; data entry; transcription; data quality control; administering surveys by telephone or in person; and similar tasks.

Task 2: Call patients with upcoming appointments; assess and document their needs; and refer them to resources that address their needs.

Task 3: Take calls during shifts on UCSF hotlines, including the COVID-19 hotline. Assist with triaging patients, addressing questions, and referring or escalating patients to COVID-related resources.

Task 4: Call patients who have been referred for more intensive coaching. Assure that the patients have reviewed educational materials about their condition; and assist them in writing a list of questions to be sent to their physician in advance of their upcoming consultation.

Task 5: Virtually accompany patients to visits with physicians, via Zoom. Take notes for the patient; and make audio-recordings of the visit. Summarize the notes and give copies of the summary and recording to the patient as a memory aid.

Task 6: Staff other projects that may need student assistance with patient support tasks, including supportive care (e.g. distress screening), survivorship, transplant, prehabilitation for surgery, and others.

Task 7: Maintain key standards after training in patient privacy, good clinical practices, legal and risk management requirements, and documentation and data collection and management.

Task 8: Reflect critically on Tasks 1-8 every week in writing and in a case review meeting with the program director (Jeff Belkora) or coordinator (Tia Weinberg) or UC Berkeley student group leaders. Students will learn the Critical Incident Technique for practice-based learning and improvement. Our program conducts research on the data collected by students regarding barriers and facilitators relevant to program implementation.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Tia Weinberg, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: REQUIRED: 1. Four to six hours per week available to staff a virtual clinic or hotline slot; plus four to six hours of program meetings, record-keeping, training, and communication. Average commitment will be 9-11 hours per week. 2. Aptitude for patient-centered, neutral, non-directive communication, including very clear enunciation and fluent English. 3. Devotion to professionalism. Be ready to leave behind all the informality of college campus interactions. We operate in a highly regulated, formal, and patient-centered environment. You must be obsessive about reading and following instructions, have unbelievable attention to detail, incredible devotion to doing things perfectly in this program. 4. Exceptional maturity, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence. 5. You will need to provide a laptop with a hard drive and internet connection, and consent to installing UCSF security software on your laptop, giving UCSF IT the ability to wipe your laptop remotely if it is stolen or missing. Google Chromebooks do not meet our UCSF encryption standards. The new Apple M1 chip computers have not yet been configured to meet UCSF encryption standards. You will also need a USB (wired) headset for best audio fidelity. Wireless (e.g. Bluetooth) headsets do not meet our standards. Note: students can apply each year for funds to partially reimburse expenses on the basis of financial need. DESIRED: 1. Preference given to sophomores and juniors who are interested in participating for multiple years. 2. Preference given to students interested in exploring health-related careers. Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: remote

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