The Outstanding Community Partner Award recognizes all that Compass’s partners do to enrich and amplify our work. Everyone has a role to play in tackling the complex issues of homelessness in our community, and this year’s winner, Anita Souza, PhD, plays her role masterfully!

Anita (center) is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington’s School of Nursing. She has been a valued partner of Compass Housing Alliance for nearly a decade. Her work addresses the care and support of older adults across the cognitive continuum, including those in the early stages of memory loss.

Using Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methods, Anita’s research aims to better understand the needs and challenges of providing care to homeless older adults with cognitive impairment.

Together, we are partners on a research project funded with a $500,000 grant from Wellpoint (formerly Amerigroup) in which a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Graduate students are embedded in Compass’s Nyer Urness House program. They first build relationships and then provide necessary clinical services to residents where they live. This kind of embedded, relationship-first, wrap-around service model truly impacts our residents’ level of participation in healthcare, quality of life, and wellness.

We are seeing our residents, many of whom have high medical needs and a tough time trusting the medical system, participating in their own care with these nurses. They are stabilizing further, both mentally and physically. One resident has finally found the right medication to manage his mental health challenges and is now in school.

This happened because of Anita’s dedication to Compass and our relationship-first partnership. Anita accepted the award from the stage at this year’s Homeward Gala.

She spoke a few words to the gathered attendees.

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