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Projects with Promise

Vol. 27 No. 1

ENCompass: A Comprehensive Undergraduate Student-Led Model of Implementing a Social Needs Screening and Referral Program

May 20, 2021


Columbus, the largest city in Ohio, is an epicenter for several overlapping health disparities, including poverty, food insecurity, and infant mortality. A group of volunteer undergraduate students at The Ohio State University sought to reduce some of these disparities through the creation of ENCompass: Empowering Neighborhoods of Columbus. This student organization was developed around a dual mission to (1) address social determinants of health by screening and connecting clients with social resources and (2) cultivate interdisciplinary student leadership through immersive volunteer experiences. In its 9 years of implementation, ENCompass has developed ongoing partnerships with eight clinics and food pantries where, on a weekly basis, ENCompass volunteers conduct social needs screenings with interested clients. This article provides an in-depth description of the ENCompass program, the outcomes ENCompass has provided for the community and its student volunteers, and several lessons learned to offer guidance to those interested in developing similar programs.