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UD, St. Francis partner to use mobile health van in Wilmington

Tom Byrne
Delaware Public Media

Students in the University of Delaware’s nursing program now have a van to take clinical health care out into Wilmington communities. 

Officials announced the Community Mobile Healthcare & Wellness program Monday.

St. Francis Hospital’s St. Clare van has been used to care for people who are homeless, poor or uninsured. It has now been made into a mobile medical center meant for St. Francis staff and UD nursing students to visit areas in Wilmington with historically poor health outcomes.

“It was important for our students to actually be able to be in communities that might not look like their typical clinical rotations that our nursing students get,” said UD director of Partnership for Healthy Communities Rita Landgraff.      

The mobile unit has a monthly schedule of visits to community centers, schools, senior centers and other sites in the Wilmington area.

Landgraff says it will provide services like preventative screenings, immunizations, lab tests and referrals. She adds she hopes it will expand to provide other services, and utilize other university departments based on community need.

The one-year pilot program is being funded with $424,000 from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware. 

Landgraff says a grad student in UD’s epidemiology program will be collecting data over the course of the year to help make the case for continuing the program when the funding runs out.

“Not only health data to better understand how our services may have improved health, but also to collect data relative to what citizens may want as we’re travelling in the mobile health unit,” she said.        

The program has been branded as part of Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long’s Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge.

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