PerHL research study aims is to develop a mobile health application that will store both a patient’s medical information and a range of socioeconomic and medical resources for a diverse patient population. Particularly, ten million individuals are released from prisons and jails each year and have a high risk of poor health outcomes. Given the abrupt change in their environment from jails and prisons into the community, possibly facing structural barriers to healthcare (such as lack of access to identification cards, social security, etc.), a lack of housing opportunities, and no support system, this population is at heightened risk for chronic conditions.
The first step towards achieving the goal of advocating for this population is to hear from them through participant and community interviews. By understanding both their incarceration and reentry experience, we gain an insight into the struggles they face as well as the common needs and desires of the participants during reentry. In identifying their needs, we are able to add specific resources into the development of the app. Additionally, our team conduct stakeholder interviews in which we meet with members of the community who are in a position to advocate for this vulnerable population, such as staff at halfway houses, probation and reentry officers, and discharge planners. These interactions allow us to learn more about the reentry process and ensure our research findings lead to policy change.