A new partnership with the University of Delaware Partnership for Healthy Communities, the state of Delaware, Saint Francis Hospital and Highmark Delaware is working to support improvements in health outcomes in Wilmington’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.
This Community Mobile Healthcare and Wellness partnership is leveraging the St. Clare Medical Outreach van as an opportunity to address social determinants of health in a new, collaborative way. The pilot, which began visiting Wilmington communities earlier this month, aims to establish an academic-community service model providing hands-on experience in population health for University of Delaware students while also expanding access to care and outreach opportunities for those in need of healthcare services.
The program will serve patients of all ages and backgrounds by offering access to care at the street level, offering support, education and referrals for patients who might not otherwise reach out for help. Services include screenings, immunizations, blood pressure checks, lab tests and referrals to community-based organizations.
Students from the College of Health Sciences School of Nursing and the Epidemiology program are part of the pilot outreach program, although there are plans in the future to expand the academic opportunities to students from other colleges at UD and outside the university with a focus on the social determinants of health.
“The Mobile Health Program initiative will afford University of Delaware undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to participate in hands on experiences in population health,” said Rita Landgraf, director of the Partnership for Health Communities. “Students will build empathy and gain a better understanding of how inequitable social conditions such as food insecurity and housing instability can impact people’s health. Working and learning together will anchor an interprofessional experience, while participants are actively engaged in education and outreach initiatives.”
Through the Community Mobile Healthcare and Wellness Initiative, the mobile health van is visiting geographic areas in Wilmington that have traditionally had poor health outcomes. The program is partnering with local community centers and other trusted venues to provide health services. In addition, the van will provide health and wellness outreach – including behavioral health screenings and education – to locations in collaboration with the Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge, which encourages organizations and communities to work toward a healthier Delaware.
A kickoff event for the mobile health van partnership will be held March 9 at the Community Education Building in Wilmington.