Virtual day-camp: A new paradigm of cross-border health outreach for medical trainees
Rishi N. Modi, BS1; Jaimie L. Bryan, BS2; Amanda A. Gosman, MD1
1University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA, USA, 2University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA
Background: Children with craniofacial conditions (CFCs) may face societal isolation and lower quality of life, exacerbated by COVID-19 quarantine measures restricting travel and access to care. This disproportionately impacts the CFC community across the California-Mexico border, who frequently seek care on both sides. Medical students collaborated with a local non-profit to develop virtual day-camps to boost self-esteem and provide resources in this diverse population of children and their families
Methods: A virtual day-camp was hosted for children with CFCs and their families, in English and Spanish, with pre- and post-camp surveys administered in both languages (73% response rate, N = 27)
Results: Child average age = 5-10 years, sex = 70.4% M, 29.6% F. Primary language = 85.2% English, 14.8% Spanish. Ethnicity = 59.3% Non-Hispanic, 40.7% Hispanic. CFCs = 48.1% cleft lip/palate, 51.8% other (22.2% craniosynostosis, 14.8% Treacher-Collins, 11.1% micrognathia, 3.7% dermatological condition). Annual income = 37% < K, 25.9% K-100K, 37% over K. Activities ranked as most beneficial were motivational speakers, physical activities, and arts/crafts. Pre-camp, Hispanic parents were more interested in interacting with healthcare trainees (p = 0.008) and motivational speakers (p = 0.047); post-camp, they reported benefiting more from provided resources (p = 0.015). Post-camp, Hispanic parents also reported themselves (p=0.05) and their child (p=0.03) as feeling more connected with the CFC community; lower income families reported the same (p = 0.024). There were no significant differences in reports between diagnoses, gender, or age. Parents reported the virtual platform as equally beneficial to prior in-person camps (3 ± 1.24, out of 5)
Conclusion: Medical trainees can engage in cross-border health outreach through virtual day-camps that offer psychosocial services and healthcare resources. The paradigm shift from in-person therapeutic activities to a virtual platform has demonstrated success in this CFC community, with Hispanic and low-income families specifically reporting the most benefit. Future events informed by a longitudinal study will optimally minimize disparities this vulnerable population faces in therapeutic outlets, community connection, and access to resources, all of which have been complicated by COVID-19.
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