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Qual Health Res. 2018 Jun;28(7):1065-1076. doi: 10.1177/1049732318759528.

Group Medical Visits as Participatory Care in Community Health Centers.

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1 University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


In this article, I examine group medical visits, a clinic-based intervention that aims to improve patient health by combining clinical care, health education and peer support. Research shows that health care inequalities are reproduced through the interplay of interpersonal, institutional, and structural factors. I examine changing social relations made possible by group visits, including peer support and an expanded role for patient knowledge. The qualitative data presented here are part of a mixed-methods study of how group medical visits and integrative medicine are combined and implemented for low-income people with chronic conditions. I find that patients take active roles in each other's care, supporting, challenging, and advocating in ways that shift patient-provider relationships. Such shifts demand reflection about what kinds of knowledge matter for health. Health care encounters can reproduce inequality for marginalized patients; this study suggests group visits can restructure patient-provider encounters to interrupt healthcare inequalities.


North America; North Americans; United States of America; community and public health; grounded theory; group interaction; holistic care; marginalized or vulnerable populations, qualitative; primary health care; qualitative methods; social support

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