Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York began piloting a Patient Navigator Program in our Buffalo Health Center. The Patient Navigator helps individuals most impacted by systems of systemic racism and oppression identified through Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) barriers.
SDoH barriers include, but are not limited to: food insecurity or inaccessibility; barriers to educational and employment opportunities; transportation issues (which can impact access to pharmacies, medical appointments, etc.); lack of access to childcare, housing, and utility services; and lack of access to mental health resources or legal aid. Any and all Social Determinants of Health barriers have an impact on a patient’s overall health outcomes.
The Patient Navigator will work with the patient and their medical team at the Buffalo Health Center to identify needs, connect the patient with available resources (simultaneously vetting the resources), and in some cases act as the initial contact to services for the patient.
The Patient Navigator Program was made possible in part by a generous donation from the Cravens Foundation. At this time, the Patient Navigator will only serve patients with a Buffalo area address to maintain equity. We plan on expanding this role to serve other patients in our 18-county service area soon.