According to the CDC, over 28 million Americans are uninsured, and approximately 70 million Americans are covered by Medicaid. There is a growing, unmet need for access to specialists and primary care doctors in medically underserved communities. The MAVEN Project is on a mission to change this.
In 2013, Laurie Green, MD, a San Francisco-based OB/GYN and then President of the Harvard Medical School Alumni Association, realized that she had access to the physician knowledge base that was so desperately needed in clinics throughout the country. Telehealth technology, Green believed, could help to minimize the geographic and socioeconomic barriers that prohibited these clinics from accessing this knowledge base and providing needed high quality care.
So Green founded The MAVEN Project (Medical Alumni Volunteer Expert Network), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit healthcare organization with the mission of improving access to health care by leveraging telehealth to connect under-resourced clinics with expert physician volunteers.
The MAVEN Project began recruiting retired and semi-retired physician volunteers from medical school alumni associations across the country. The physician volunteer pool has since evolved to include physicians still in practice as well as those in industry. They currently represent volunteers from 25 leading medical schools. Currently, physician volunteers provide services to clinics in California, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.
Volunteer physicians offer four types of services to under-resourced clinics. Two of these are educational; seasoned physicians use the platform to help to increase the knowledge base at clinics through educational initiatives and also by providing mentoring to newer PCPs.
The HIPAA compliant platform also facilitates pre-scheduled and impromptu advisory consults between clinic PCPs and physician volunteers on de-identified clinical cases. These consults allow physician volunteers to validate or augment care plans, as well as help PCPs determine which patients need to be referred to a specialist for additional, in-person care.
Finally, physician volunteers can join appointments and connect with patients directly at the clinic.
Clinic primary care providers such as Dr. David Goldschmid have commented that MAVEN Project physician volunteers are “direct, practical and academic at the same time, very clear, and obviously experienced.” Dr. Alex Yi a MAVEN Project cardiologist physician volunteer states that “often it isn’t a matter of going to a local cardiologist or going to The MAVEN [Project]. It’s often nothing or The MAVEN [Project].”
Currently, The MAVEN Project has engaged 200 physician volunteers in various stages
of collaboration or inquiry. To date, physician volunteers have provided more than 1,060 consultations to clinics nationwide and today The MAVEN Project is scaling to expand its impact.
Earlier this year, The MAVEN Project signed on Lisa Bard Levine, MD, MBA as their CEO. “The goal of closing the gap on access to care, managing chronic conditions early for vulnerable populations, improving health outcomes and decreasing the escalating costs of healthcare are so important to me,” says Levine of her new position at The MAVEN Project. “I live and breathe this mission.”
The MAVEN Project is on a mission to spread its impact. They are always looking for physician volunteers, clinics in need, as well as sources of funding support including philanthropy and grants. If you’re interested in learning more about The MAVEN Project, please click here.
Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively. When she isn't writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.
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