Recently appointed to share three of the four third-year chief resident positions for the hospital’s internal medicine department, Mitchell Hare, MD ’20, Morris Kopyt, MD ’19, and Gilda-Rae Grell, MD’19, are excited to help launch an innovative, hands-on project. The EQITI Project, a training model based on Education, Quality, and Interprofessional Team Integration, will pair patients with an assigned physician at the hospital and medical center’s local outpatient clinics. Its goal is to address the root causes behind the significant life expectancy gap for the community. It’s a dedicated team approach to healthcare that is rolling out in Brooklyn neighborhoods.
“Our goal is to really focus on access to care and make some significant changes in the outpatient experience for patients,” says Dr. Hare. “All of us, as chief residents, and the department of medicine, share the same passion for equitable access to care and it is if the stars aligned on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn this visionary model into a reality. Easy access to quality care hasn’t always been readily available, and we are working tirelessly to change that narrative.”
About the EQITI Project
The program seeks to break down significant access barriers and provide a system of true care-continuity, by electronically pairing outpatients with a medical resident who will monitor their care directly, guided through achieving quality metrics. Coupled with the most up-to-date curriculum and an integrated feedback system, there will be reassurance that the community is receiving the care that they need. With close monitoring of health issues from chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes to preventative care, such as cancer screening and vaccinations —health issues that can improve with close monitoring of care — the entire community can begin to heal.
“We predominantly serve low-income Brooklynites who don’t deserve to have years taken off their life expectancy because of their zip code,” says Dr. Grell. “Whenever you need a doctor, you shouldn’t have to wait weeks for an appointment, and it should be with a doctor who already knows you.” A seamless process and better access to your doctor will make simple things, such as medication refills, readily occur and reduce the rate of avoidable emergency room visits or hospitalizations, things that have been historically higher when compared to other neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
The chief residents within the Department of Medicine will be responsible for supervising 140 residents during the year-long program. As physician leaders, they are supporting the foundational needs of the program through the development of a dynamic schedule that adapts to patient’s needs, orientation planning, and structuring and standardizing the academic curriculum for the year.
“The goal is that patients and physicians will create a strong bond. This will be achieved by empaneling patients with physicians for the one-year timeframe,” explained Dr. Grell, who is originally from Dominica.
Inequality in the Community
What does it mean when you have true continuity, you may ask? “Imagine a middle-aged woman who has chronic health conditions that need to be monitored, but she infrequently comes for her follow-up visit because the amount of care she needs doesn’t match with any of the doctor’s schedule,” says Dr. Grell. “Now imagine, she has a regular doctor who is there when she needs them, and her health is already getting better. I’ve personally experienced this and, even more, she’s brought her daughter in for care as well.”
“The inequities in care in communities like this are painfully visible every day,” says Dr. Kopyt, a Brooklyn native. “What’s exciting is we are already seeing small changes.”
Drs. Hare, Kopyt and Grell say that the training at RUSM played a significant role in their desire to seize this opportunity and prepared them to help implement a system of care in which all patients are treated equally and equitably. They will intentionally try to reverse decades of inequity in these historically underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods. “Ross Med’s focus on student service lays the foundation for a lifelong career that mirrors that same dedication to service,” explained Dr. Hare.
So, what lies ahead for the chief residents? Dr. Grell is seeking a fellowship in nephrology and critical care; Dr. Hare will be an associate program director for the Internal Medicine residency at Brookdale; and Dr. Kopyt is looking to obtain a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care.
In the meantime, the trio are excited to be working alongside each other and with their medical colleagues to launch a program they already are seeing is making an impact on patient lives.