TAMPA, Fla. — “My family will tell you I’ve been dreaming about this for about 10 or 15 years,”Dr. Usha Mónon, Dean ofThe University of South Florida College of NursingSenior Associate Vice President of USF Health.
It will be her dream come true.
“I’ve always wanted to have a mobile unit that went out from the college,”Menon.
The USF College of NursingA grant of $3.85 million was just awarded to a university for research. mobileHealth unit. It’s currently under construction but will be hitting the streets soon.
“We’re hoping to have a van that is large enough to have two exam rooms and a small bathroom in there so people can actually give urine samples, and we can do well women visits, and there’s complete privacy,”Menon.
The unitWill go out toAreas with restricted access to healthcare because health inequities and health disparities aren’t always about people not having insurance or money.
“It’s also the access to care. When you think about economically disadvantaged individuals not being able to take time off work, not being able to find childcare or transportation, and come and sit in a parking lot somewhere and have to wait long appointments, this is about taking healthcare to them in their communities,”Menon.
This unitThere will also be an opportunity toNursing students should be taught how to care for people in the community and create plans that meet their specific needs. ofPeople with limited access to the internet.
“You can’t just go and tell somebody, ‘Oh, you have type 2 diabetes. You need to lose weight, and you’ve got to eat healthy.’ Well, eating healthy is very expensive. Eating fresh foods is very expensive. So how do we incorporate the fact that somebody may not be able to afford what is traditionally healthy food?”Menon asked.
She wants this mobile unit to be a place where people don’t have toTake a lot of pictures and travel far. ofTime off ofWork, or secure childcare.
“Also a trusted place where they will not only receive contemporary services but at the same time will be treated with dignity and respect. And that there will be students and advanced practice nurses that will care about culture sensitivity and culture appropriateness and will treat them as any other patient who has come to seek care,”Menon.
“Another really neat thing is that we’re going to have a portable electronic health record. So these are not people who will receive episodic care. If they need to go somewhere for specialty treatment, we have a record that can be sent with them to wherever they go. So again, it’s really thinking about that whole person,”She continued.
These are the areas that the van will first start serving.
- Tampa Heights
- Sulphur Springs
- Port Tampa Bay
- South St. Petersburg
“Those zip codes that are officially federally designated as underserved areas,”Menon.
According to project leaders, this is only the beginning.
“I’m not going to stop with one unit. I’m hoping to have a couple that we can take out with the support of the community,”Menon.
The college is already working to develop a plan for long-term sustainability to make a lasting impact.
“We are working very hard with the community now to see how can we one, take the money and make it last longer. And two, what can we do to sustain this effort so that once we develop the trust in those communities, we’re not taking away what we brought,”Menon.
These items are essential for the community. toHelp them achieve their goals:
- Parking spaces large enough to park the van safely
- Donor fund toSupport certain aspects, such as supplies for the unit
- Sponsorships by businesses for routes
- They can provide community health education and screening programs for cancer.
“We’re looking at different ways that we can really utilize the van with community partners. Some of it would be opportunities to pay to support the van, and others would be simply giving us the time and space and room,”Menon.
It is anticipated that the van will arrive. toIn the next five days, it will be completed to eight months.
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