The Resource Navigation Program (RNP) begins at the clinical point of service with undergraduate student resource navigators screening families about root factors affecting their health such access to food, child care, housing or income supports.

Navigators then follow up with patients to elaborate on findings from the screening and develop a plan for addressing unmet needs that undermine both short- and long-term needs. Navigators use a capacity-building approach, partnering with patients to prioritize action to address systemic barriers to health through connections to community resources.

For example, navigators might connect patients with transportation to vital appointments, assist them to find suitable housing or assure adequate access to healthy food.

Navigators stationed in identified clinics are primarily advanced undergraduate pre-health students at UW-Madison.

Goals include:

  • Increased provider understanding of patients' broader health needs
  • Improved communication with patients about treatment recommendations requiring action at home
  • More comprehensive, feasible plans for improved health
  • Capturing patients’ own perspective on systemic issues that impact their health and how those are being addressed by the Resource Navigator Program

This project is modeled after Health Leads.

The person in this fieldwork intern position will be actively engaged in program implementation and refinement, with primary responsibility for resource navigator oversight, coordination and ongoing training. All activities will involve extensive engagement directly with students, patients and clinical providers and administration. Most of the person’s time will be spent at clinic sites providing direct supervision and support to the resource navigators.

Ideal student candidates for this position will have:

  • Experience coordinating service learning experiences, volunteers or supervising staff
  • Understanding of, and interest in, health clinic practices, particularly in innovations to shift the focus of treatment toward health promotion
  • Understanding of the impact of social determinants on health outcomes and health disparities
  • Strong understanding and/or experience with individual or system level advocacy and/or health policy issues

Students would benefit from any/all of the following:

  • Critical thinking
  • Process improvement
  • Management
  • Coordination
  • Training/education
  • Quantitative and qualitative analysis

Additional activities may include assisting with grant proposals, coordination of education events, and publicizing project activities through traditional and social media channels, grassroots methods and other creative means.