Alameda Health System (AHS) is committed to being a part of the village that helps teach the next generation of health care leaders. We also recognize there is opportunity for us to learn from our students, a teacher should always remain a student.

This spring semester four students from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health worked on a “Market Assessment of Urgent Care Landscape in Alameda County” that was presented to the AHS executive team. Their research goals included a scan of the urgent care clinics in the county. The students provided suggestions on ways to improve the current care provided at the AHS-Highland Same Day Clinic. Additionally, their research showed that out of the 41 urgent care clinics in Alameda County very few served as safety net facilities.

“We are delighted to have worked with these bright students from Dr. Kimberly MacPherson’s strategy class at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. They brought us a fresh perspective and offered us feedback and considerations that were insightful and timely. We look forward to similar collaborations with our local educational partners. We are eager to provide students exposure to the services we provide and we value the learnings they bring us,” said Ishwari Venkataraman, vice president of strategy and business planning at AHS.

The four students, Ariel Cooper, Shaun Moncada, Kalee Singh and Brandon Vu were all very grateful for the experience.

“I’ve been a fan of AHS for a while, my sister actually volunteered here and always spoke so highly of the organization. It was great to experience it firsthand,” said Cooper who will be receiving her Master’s in Public Health.

One recommendation brought forth by the students, is transforming the Highland Same Day Clinic into an urgent care clinic. Currently, the Same Day Clinic only offers services to patients assigned to AHS and they are required to call and make appointments. Turning it into an urgent care clinic would expand access to the broader community.

“I enjoyed listening to the presentation today. The possibility of giving more people in our community access to these type of services is exciting,” said Kipi Iscandari, manager of the Same Day Clinic.

Singh mentioned other recommendations provided were to increase technology where possible like offering online appointment scheduling and strengthening the connection with the health advocates and translators.

“I’m pleased that leadership is taking a proactive approach into looking for solutions to better serve residents of Alameda County. These students presented excellent research on how to build upon the great work we currently do at AHS. As a provider that works at both the Same Day Clinic and Eastmont Wellness, I can tell you it is very common for patients who go to urgent care clinics to be referred to AHS because they can’t pay for initial or follow-up care. If we had an urgent care clinic we could bypass this superfluous process and treat patients sooner,” said Dipankar Ghosh, MD.

In addition to treating patients sooner and increasing access, having an urgent care clinic could alleviate some of the delays in the emergency department. For example, someone who doesn’t have insurance but has been suffering from a terrible sore throat might present in the emergency department, contributing to the backlog or surge. An urgent care clinic would provide a more appropriate place for them to seek care.

The students will also be required to turn in the final assessment as part of their final grade. “We hope we get an A.”