Bonus Minicast #4

Out Of The Cold Program. Supporting Vulnerable Inner City Patients with Dr. Mariah Hughes


Guest: Dr. Mariah Hughes

Physician, Internal Medicine. ​

Key Takeaways

  • Out of the Cold’ is a resident physician led and operated preventative and primary health clinic in Ottawa that provides health care to vulnerable inner city patients

  • ‘Out of the Cold’ is scalable and has a low operating budget, yet has a wide reach and potentially prevents downstream healthcare resource utilization by preventing non-urgent emergency department visits

A Closer Look

‘Out of the Cold’ Primary Health Clinic

  • Dr. Mariah Hughes is one of the resident organizers for this resident led and operated primary health clinic

  • Since 2016, the clinic has run between Nov – March for one evening each week, timed to coincide with free supper at the Ottawa Knox Presbyterian Church

  • Despite a very low operating budget (several hundred per year), the clinic assess and treats 5 – 20 patients per clinic, and is staffed by a volunteer pool of 30 resident physicians (supervised by staff physicians)

  • The clinicians provide free assessments and referral to specialists as needed, preventative health counseling, wound care, and other primary care assessments


Impact and Scalability

  • A volunteer model for providing healthcare to underserved populations is potentially scalable, as many healthcare providers are willing to donate their time to help vulnerable populations

  • Patients may be more receptive to seeing a physician for their health problems in this setting as they are already at the church receiving a free meal, thus removing barriers to accessing healthcare

Further Readings

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