By anyone’s reckoning, the numbers are staggering: Despite the Affordable Care Act, 29 million Americans remain uninsured, 62 million lack access to primary care providers due to local shortages, and the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) has identified over 6,000 Health Professional Shortage Areas.
Many have come to believe that states embracing the ACA have solved healthcare access problems when, in reality, we’ve distributed tickets but there’s no room in the tent. Both primary care and specialty services are either unavailable, or unacceptably delayed, in thousands of regions across the country.
The genesis of the MAVEN Project
These challenges were front and center when a group of medical school alumni presidents met nearly 2 years ago to discuss how we might be part of a solution. Could we develop an opportunity that would both help address healthcare disparities and help our fellow alumni extend their careers, feel relevant, and give back?
We began listening tours. Academic and practice colleagues alike articulated that retirement or semi-retirement provoked a sense of devaluation, a surgical excision from a community of which they had been an integral member. With 36% of physicians in U.S. over the age of 55, we realized that this vital pool of expertise and commitment could be marshaled to fill in health care gaps.
Thus germinated the Medical Alumni Volunteer Expert Network, or The MAVEN (=someone who imparts knowledge to others) Project. Our goal is to create a national corps of volunteer physicians, especially semi-retired, retired, and others, to fill in care gaps in safety net clinics, using telemedicine platforms for access.
By curating participating clinics, providing malpractice insurance, and aiding the credentialing and technology onboarding, The MAVEN Project makes volunteering, mentoring, and educating others an enjoyable and accessible opportunity. It allows physicians to share their knowledge and remain engaged in a meaningful way.
We are seeking volunteers
We are actively recruiting physicians licensed in California and Massachusetts to provide clinical consultations for our pilot clinics. We are also recruiting physicians from across the country to mentor and teach, as well as to be available for clinical consultations as we scale nationally and engage more clinics.
We hope to establish a community of volunteers in the truest sense, bringing like-minded physicians together so they can interact not only with the clinics but with their peers as well.
Healthcare is at an inflection point; and by being at the intersection of technology (telemedicine), opportunity (retiring or other physicians), and need (the underserved), MAVEN is positioned to improve the lives of patients and volunteers alike.
We would be honored to hear from any interested individuals and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website www.mavenproject.org.