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Guest Post: The Family Van

By John Gauthier | Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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If we hope to improve health and healthcare , we will need innovative ideas that expand the boundaries of the traditional healthcare system and address the gaps in health equity.  Mobile Health Clinics, like The Family Van can be part of that solution. They link neighborhood residents who are disengaged or mistrustful  to the clinical care and improve the detection and management of chronic diseases for our most vulnerable populations.   Twenty-two years ago the founder of the Family Van,Dr. Nancy Oriol of Harvard Medical School, noted that just down the street from some of Boston’s finest medical institutions many neighborhood residents were suffering with the city’s highest rates of preventable disease and she created the Family Van to address that.

Over the years, we’ve done what we believe in most: create trusting relationships where that have led to improvements in both health literacy and health outcomes. Through our consistent presence in the neighborhood, we have been successful where others have not.  We listened  to community members in medically underserved areas and brought our care to them and done it cost-effectively!  However, if we are to sustain this vital linkage to care mobile health clinics need more than just philanthropic support.  Many thousand s of mobile clinics nationwide survive but don’t thrive due to limited resources and lack of reimbursement  for their services.

The  Mobile Health Tour is shining a light on how mobile health  clinics can be leveraged to advance the Triple Aims and improve health equity by addressing the gaps in care across the country.  We are honored that the work of this under recognized sector of our health care system is being highlighted by IHI.


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