"Que Rivadavia Florezca" (Helping Rivadavia Flourish)

During the last week of October, Hospital Rivadavia, one of the oldest and largest public hospitals in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, held its Annual Community Health Fair. Five second-year MSW students in the Silver School’s Buenos Aires Semester Abroad program worked with the hospital’s social work staff to design and implement a community needs assessment to identify barriers and facilitators to health care access. Maria Guerra and Charlotte Sohr spearheaded the development of the proposal; and Sally Nazir, Kate Lambert, and Tianjin Li assisted during the event.

To promote participation in the needs assessment, Ms. Guerra and Ms. Sohr created an activity that incorporated art. During the health fair, patients and community members were invited to write suggestions and experiences about the hospital’s services and accessibility of care on paper leaves, which were displayed on one of two paper trees.

Argentina offers universal health care through the country’s public health system. Care at all public hospitals is free of charge regardless of income or immigration status. However, the needs assessment revealed that the system is not without limitations that can make accessing care difficult. Some of the issues shared by the Rivadavia community included lengthy wait times, insufficient medical staff and resources, and complaints of discrimination against certain populations.

The Silver School students are compiling the results of the needs assessment and providing the hospital with a report. The Rivadavia Social Work staff plan to use this information to evaluate actions the hospital can pursue to improve service delivery moving forward. Maria Guerra, Charlotte Sohr, Sally Nazir, Kate Lambert, and Tianjin Li implemented a project that has the potential to improve access to health care for Buenos Aires residents. Real results, one leaf at a time.