• AAFP Tools EveryONE Can Use

    Toolkit, Neighborhood Navigator Address Social Needs

    May 26, 2021, 8:41 a.m. News Staff — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made the public acutely aware of an issue that family physicians have known about for decades. In many areas of the country, racial and ethnic minorities have experienced long-standing health disparities that have increased their risk of contracting and dying from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

    wrench and stethoscope on keyboard

    A leading factor in these disparities is social determinants of health. For several years, the Academy has tried to raise awareness of the relationship between SDOH and health disparities, initially through the adoption of policies and position papers on the topic, and more recently through the creation of the Center for Diversity and Health Equity in April 2017.

    The Center’s signature resource is The EveryONE Project, an initiative that gives family physicians tools to advocate for health equity and reduce health disparities. Among these are the EveryONE Project Toolkit, which offers FPs materials to improve patient health through a variety of avenues, and the Neighborhood Navigator, which allows FPs to address SDOHs at the point of care by connecting patients with food and housing, as well as financial and other services in their communities. Members can use these resources to care for vulnerable patient populations while also helping patients get the social support they need.

    “Used together, these tools equip family physicians with the skills to operationalize health equity into clinical practice,” said Danielle Jones, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Diversity and Health Equity.

    The EveryONE Project Toolkit: Advocacy, Implicit Bias and More

    The toolkit helps FPs addresses SDOH and health equity from four perspectives:

    • assessment and action,
    • community collaboration,
    • implicit bias training, and
    • practice leadership.

    Each section contains a series of valuable resources for members. Among the tools featured in the implicit bias training section, for example, are a facilitator’s guide, a participant’s guide and a series of videos that illustrate how implicit bias can affect patient care. Similar resources are available on the other topics.

    Neighborhood Navigator: Health Equity at the Community Level

    The Neighborhood Navigator, which is supported in part by a grant from the AAFP Foundation and is free to use, connects FPs and their patients with more than 40,000 social services nationwide.

    After watching a short series of tutorial modules, members can use the database to search for patient resources in their communities. Resources are grouped into 10 general categories:

    • care,
    • family,
    • food,
    • housing,
    • legal,
    • mental health,
    • money/goods,
    • physical health,
    • transit, and
    • work and education.

    Searches are conducted via ZIP code, and search results can printed and/or e-mailed for patients in more than 100 languages.

    To see an example of how the Neighborhood Navigator supports FPs and patients, members can view a recent Family Medicine Practice Hack in which Jennifer Bacani McKenney, M.D., a practicing family physician in Fredonia, Kan., describes using the navigator to help patients locate nearby behavioral health resources.

    The Neighborhood Navigator is also featured on the Academy’s patient education site, familydoctor.org, for patients and others interested in improving health outcomes.

    Other Resources

    The Academy has a substantial array of additional health equity resources available for members. Those that may be of particular interest include the Health Equity Curricular Toolkit, an AAFP audiobook on social determinants of health and the FPM journal topic collection on health equity, diversity and social determinants of health.