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In central Washington state, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services (YNHS) is building healthy neighborhoods, even in the most challenging circumstances.

The agricultural community is largely rural and two out of every five residents live on incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. They’re serving a disadvantaged population of agricultural workers who are at risk of higher health disparities based on the nature of the work environment, low pay and housing conditions. Despite these difficult demographic factors, combined with the higher-than-average patient-to-primary care ratio and designation of a primary care Health Professional Shortage Area, the providers at YNHS are doing their best to ensure patients receive the best care possible.

Thankfully, the 16 providers at their ten sites have access to MAVEN Project and the expertise of hundreds of volunteer physicians in more than 60 specialties.

“I use MAVEN Project so much,” shared Daniel Dunbar, D.O. “I was trained in a large hospital where I had ready access to specialists. Coming to a rural clinic, I thought I had to figure everything out myself. Being able to consult with MAVEN Project volunteer physicians saves patients time and money, and it takes the pressure off me to know everything about everything. And the volunteers are incredible. I’ve had responses to consult requests in as little as three hours!”

YNHS served 21,000 patients in 2021. Even those who have insurance struggle to access specialty care because of their rural locale, meaning many go untreated or undertreated for years.

“Recently I had a patient who broke out in hives if she exercised or traveled somewhere warm,” Dr. Dunbar added. “She’d lived with the condition for years but hadn’t been able to seek answers. One consult with a MAVEN Project allergy specialist and we identified her condition and how to treat the issue. She’s doing great now, and it wouldn’t have been possible without MAVEN Project.”

Providers are also taking advantage of MAVEN Project’s ongoing continuing medical education offerings.

“I tune into the CME classes whenever I can,” said Dr. Dunbar. “They’re so informative and the leading provider always leaves time for us to ask questions.”

YNHS covers 4,400 square miles, including the Yakama Indian Reservation. In a region where it’s so challenging to access specialty care, consults with MAVEN Project are making a world of difference.

“Insight from MAVEN Project’s providers helps us to coordinate care and do the right tests at the right time,” shared Ji Seo Ru, ARNP. “Especially for more complex cases, it’s improving outcomes and giving patients the confidence they deserve.”


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