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"Clinic on Wheels" Delivers Preventive Care and Prepares Future Providers

December 12, 2019

It’s Time to Start Taking Healthcare Back to the People

Baystate Health was awarded a $1M CDN grant by TD Bank to fund, outfit, and operate a mobile health clinic that will improve access to preventive care in under-served urban and rural communities.

Many individuals are not receiving these life-saving services because of financial and transportation barriers or a lack of providers in their neighborhoods.

Baystate will circumvent these obstacles with a “clinic on wheels” that delivers needed services while also training future healthcare professionals to bring care directly to the community.

Fulfilling the Responsibility to Improve Community Health

As the largest health system in western Massachusetts, Baystate Health has a responsibility to improve the health of people in the community.

The counties it serves, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin, are among the poorest in the state according to the 2018 County Health Rankings. High rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, and mental health and substance use disorders are health issues common to all three counties.

The mobile health clinic will deploy a multi-disciplinary healthcare team to bring health screenings, early detection, and referrals for needed treatment or other services directly to at-risk individuals where they live and congregate.

Baystate Health will work closely with community partners to prioritize health issues, and identify locations for the health bus to visit.

Seizing the Opportunity to Prepare Future Providers

Baystate Health is an academic health system training hundreds of nurses, medical students, pharmacists, and other health professions students every year.

The mobile health clinic is an opportunity to train future providers to address these issues—and prepare for future challenges.

A unique aspect of the project is to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum for health professions students from area colleges and medical students in the Population‐based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) track. They will learn to engage patients, and be trained to work collaboratively as a team to deliver high quality care in new and creative ways.

The 2019 TD Ready Challenge encouraged organizations across the U.S. and Canada to create innovative solutions to help increase equitable health outcomes that focus on preventative efforts.

The project should reduce the onset, development, and severity of chronic disease and other illnesses in the community—over both the short and long term.