, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 566-568

Changing attitudes toward homeless people

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We assessed the impact of a 2-week required rotation in homeless health care on primary care residents’ attitudes toward homeless people. Attitudes were assessed before and after the course using the Attitudes Toward Homelessness Inventory (ATHI), an instrument previously validated among undergraduate students. Attitude scores on the ATHI improved from 46 to 52 (range of possible scores 11 to 66; P=.001). The ATHI subscales showed, after the course, that residents had a greater belief that homelessness had societal causes and felt more comfortable affiliating with homeless people. After the course, residents also reported an increased interest in volunteering with homeless populations on an anonymous survey.

Information contained in this paper was presented in preliminary form at the 2002 National Society of General Internal Medicine Meeting in a precourse entitled “Teaching and Learning About Vulnerable Populations,” by Susan Glick, Rich Abrams, David Buchanan, et al., Atlanta, Ga, May 2002.