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Closing the Primary Care Gap: Building Healthcare Provider Capacity to Better Serve Women with SCI

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 276 K
Funding amount
1) Title: Closing the Primary Care Gap: Building Healthcare Provider Capacity to Better Serve Women with Spinal Cord Injury

2) Brief Description/Aims: To increase access to primary and specialty healthcare for women with spinal cord injury through innovative provider outreach, education, and a telehealth referral process.

3) Expected Outcomes:
We propose to target this “supply side” of the healthcare equation for women with SCI by helping providers, particularly primary care providers and women's healthcare specialties, adapt their practices to better serve these women, by addressing the lack of knowledge among primary care providers (PCPs) about salient health issues specific to this population. This includes identifying system barriers PCPs encounter that prevent them from providing optimal care or referrals for women with SCI and focusing on increasing their knowledge of appropriate referral and resources rather than becoming a content specialist.

The project will:
Develop and provide access to an online educational tool for PCPs and women’s healthcare specialists, telehealth resources, and training so they have the appropriate resources to build their capacity to adapt their practices to include and/or better serve women with SCI.

Create a coding system for PCPs and women’s healthcare specialist providers to identify themselves in the Partners Physician Referral Network with an “SCI-friendly” and “telehealth” status so patients and any provider can identify all network providers who are comfortable and qualified to treat women with SCI.

Expand the network of PCPs and specialty care providers with adaptive practices to treat and refer women with SCI, through the development and implementation of a dissemination plan for online training that includes the SCI Model Systems Network, and forums at professional conferences to engage other systems in this discussion and share the project’s outcomes and resources for replication, including leveraging of telemedicine towards this end.

4) This proposal supports the Neilsen Foundation’s goal of Independence - to enable women with SCI to have more independence and control of their healthcare by increasing access to primary and specialty healthcare in the community. Medical researchers and healthcare experts have known about the disparities in access to primary and specialty care for women with physical disabilities, including women with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), for at least a decade. However, most primary care providers (PCPs) rarely receive training for caring for women with SCI. Further, these women rarely know where to find providers who can meet their needs, including primary care, OB-GYN, mental/behavioral health, and sexuality support. This results in gaps in care and ignorance about healthcare and healthy living options for them.

(CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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    1117 Public Health and Health Services

  • RCDC

    Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects

  • RCDC

    Injury - Trauma - (Head and Spine)

  • RCDC


  • RCDC

    Health Services

  • RCDC

    Spinal Cord Injury

  • RCDC

    Behavioral and Social Science

  • RCDC

    Clinical Research

  • RCDC


  • RCDC


  • Health Research Areas

    Health services & systems

  • Broad Research Areas

    Health Services Research