The Mobile Health Tour arrived in Washington DC late Saturday night. After a few days on the road, we were starting to feel a bit tired, but the DC mobile clinics provided the energy boost we needed.
TownHall Education Arts Recreation Campus, located in Southeast DC, is a home away from home for the many underserved children and adults of East of the River, enabling them to participate in dance classes, music instructions, fine arts, academics, continuing education, mentoring, tutoring, recreation, medical and dental care, and other services at a substantially reduced cost or no cost at all. The building is intentionally designed with floor-to-roof windows – welcoming the community in to the facility for education, arts, and fun.
The mobile clinics in DC were lined up in THEARC parking lot. Fun dance music played for the whole event. Marcee White, Medical Director of Mobile Health Programs for THEARC, welcomed the group and spoke to the importance of the clinics’ coming together in person to share learning. Nancy Oriole, Founder of The Family Van in Boston, shared how excited she was to be on the last stop of the tour after attending our first stop in Boston a few days ago. Peggy Honoré, Director of the Public Health System, Finance, and Quality of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, told us her story of being a recent convert to the power of mobile clinics as a necessary piece of improving care in communities. She’s a strong voice in the DC policy arena for expanding the role of clinics in delivering care.
The drivers for each of the mobile health clinics line up to have their picture taken!
Penny, Unity Health Care’s mobile clinic nurse, shared her passion for her work. When she talked about why she loves doing the work, the real value of mobile shined through. She told us that outreach is what attracted her to mobile – it was more rewarding to go out and reach somebody to help them. When you’re in a brick-and-mortar facility, you do not see your patients in their everyday environments. Unity Health Care provides care primarily to homeless adults and often pair with food trucks in the community to provide food and care for homeless populations. Most importantly, nurses like Penny see the entire community. They know who has been on the unit recently, how long ago they last visited, and also who has never been on the clinic before. When Penny sees a person who has never been on the unit, she makes a point to note the location with the driver. They then work to build a relationship with that person to build the trust necessary to establish a relationship with folks who have every reason to not believe in the system.
Penny, nurse for Unity Health, shares what health means to her Saturday morning in Washington, DC.
We couldn’t be more excited about how well the Mobile Health Tour went. We met so many passionate people who are improving health and health care in their community. They focus on healing the whole person, and we all have something to learn from their successes.
Now, we’re at the Gaylord National for our 15th Annual International Summit on Improving Patient Care in the Office Practice and the Community. The mobile story will expand as we learn from Kaiser Permanente and their mobile health team and continue with a special interest breakfast to officially close the tour. We have so much more to share – videos, pictures, and stories – so, please be on the lookout for more to come!