GNYHA conducted focus groups last week to gather feedback from residency program directors and community-based organizations (CBOs) that participated in the Improving Residency Program and CBO Collaboration project. The project is funded by the New York State Health Foundation. Information from the focus groups will be used to evaluate the project’s success against stated deliverables and to develop a document to guide future partnerships between residency programs and CBOs.

In the project, GNYHA matched primary care residency programs with local CBOs to develop immersion trainings, which were structured learning opportunities for residents at the CBO site. To date, 12 residency program/CBO matches have completed immersion training, with residents participating in activities such as site orientation, community tours, shadowing home visits, presentations from CBO clients, interviews with CBO staff, and planned didactics. In the focus groups, project participants from CBOs and residency program leadership reported that the project was mutually beneficial, both in promoting residents’ activities within their communities and helping residents understand the importance of social factors such as food insecurity and housing instability in overall care.

Focus group participants also detailed successes and challenges. Residency programs reported that the residents benefited from the structured way the CBOs designed the trainings, plus the CBOs’ willingness to be flexible. CBOs reported challenges over resident scheduling and their own time and staffing constraints. Residents generally reported to program directors that the project improved their understanding of CBOs and how they address social needs that impact health.

GNYHA is convening a second cohort of matches to complete immersion trainings for residents this fall. GNYHA will hold an event on September 20 for project participants to share their experiences in detail.