U of M Clinical Affairs Launches Mobile Healthcare Vehicle

October 28, 2021

Access to health care is typically measured by insurance coverage as this is correlated with people seeking preventative screenings and care. However, other social determinants such as transportation, shelter, cost and language are factors. To help address these disparities, the University of Minnesota Office of Academic Clinical Affairs is launching the Mobile Health Initiative vehicle. 

The climate controlled, 38-foot truck is equipped with two exam rooms that are able to serve Minnesotans in a general medicine, pharmaceutical, dental, vision and nursing capacity. In addition to the two clinical spaces to serve patients, the truck is equipped with a wheelchair lift and outdoor awning for complete service use.  

“Being where people are—in their community rather than in a clinic setting—is really powerful,” said Jonathan Kirsch, MD, assistant professor of medicine who leads the Mobile Health Initiative, along with a strong leadership team.  “This type of outreach is an effective way to engage with communities, especially vulnerable populations.”

The Mobile Health Initiative truck builds off of a $1 million philanthropic investment from the Otto Bremer Trust in 2020, which established the University’s Mobile Health Initiative. In the first year, the Mobile Health Initiative team partnered with community- and faith-based organizations to provide healthcare services in communities that lack access to medical care because of COVID-19, racial injustice, as well as economic and other factors. 

“Our goal is to partner with communities affected by inequities or disparities to begin to address health-related needs that they identify. We’ve engaged expertise from all of the University's health sciences schools to provide services and needed resources,” said Bobbi Daniels, MD, associate vice president for clinical affairs.

The Mobile Health Initiative brings together U of M experts and students with community partners to deliver a range of urgently needed healthcare services and access to follow-up care when needed.

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