PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona college students are getting real-world experience in their health care fields, by helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
"They add so much to what we do here," said therapist Delia Consentino, who helps to run Crossroads in Phoenix.
The treatment and recovery program primarily helps homeless women, who are often addicted to drugs or suffering from mental illness.
"Many of them have no primary care or haven't seen a doctor in a very long time, and some of them have serious psychiatric issues that haven't been dealt with," Consentino explained.
Students in a variety of fields, from social work to pharmacy to physical therapy and psychiatry, are part of the Student Health Outreach for Wellness (SHOW) Clinic.
Arizona State University's College of Nursing and Health Innovation has been developing the program for the last few years.
They provide gap care for women who don't have access to health care but desperately need it.
"After intake, it can take months for one of our ladies to see a psychiatrist. The delay is huge. But with SHOW here, they don't even have to leave the property. A psychiatrist will come to them," Consentino said.
"When you have a team of different disciplines working together, students get to see how one symptom could have multiple causes. Working together, we can treat all of the issues at once," explained Dr. Liz Harrell, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and faculty member at ASU's College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She supervises the SHOW clinic.
"It's experiential learning. It's different from sitting in a classroom, and research shows this is the best way to learn," Dr. Harrell said.
Students like Nikole Sciortino apply what they've learned at ASU's School of Social Work, and also learn from their experiences at Crossroads.
"It's been eye-opening. They didn't waste any time throwing me right in," Sciortino said.
"And it really shows you why you should have empathy for people with substance abuse, because the road is long and hard, and is often rooted in some sort of abuse," she added.
"You can read a lot in books, but coming here to Crossroads, they get to experience what the women go through because these women are so open with what they're going through," Consentino said.
SHOW programs first began in 2013, with students and faculty from ASU, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University. They developed several student-run clinics for vulnerable populations.
Five years later, they have served nearly 1,500 people across Arizona.
A new clinic in Mesa opens in the spring, at 244 North Extension Road. SHOW is again partnering with Crossroads to provide urgent care, psychiatric evaluations, immunizations and more.
Additional information on the SHOW clinics and services can be found on their website.