Arkansas to launch two mobile health centers

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two mobile health centers are set to provide services in Arkansas starting this spring in an effort to expand health care access to underserved residents.

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission’s mobile health unit will start making trips around the state this week, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Its first stop will be in Marianna on Wednesday.

The bus is equipped with two screening rooms, a restroom and an education room, and will provide information about county health resources, free screenings and how to deal with chronic conditions.

“I’m really, really excited. It’s here, it’s live,” said Beatriz Mondragon, the commission’s health specialist and mobile health unit coordinator. “To me it’s really important for the community to be able to reach these services.”

The unit was funded by $292,000 in state general revenue and tobacco settlement funds. The bus will most often be parked outside food banks.

Mobile centers can help bring health care to underserved and vulnerable communities, such as immigrants or people experiencing poverty or homelessness, according to researchers.

Another mobile health clinic, led by the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, is scheduled to begin operations in May. The van will offer mental health assessments and preventative care, such as blood pressure and glucose screenings.

The clinic is funded by a nearly $830,000 rural development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The van is scheduled to be make trips around the state’s northeast region through at least May 2020, said Jennifer Wharton, the project manager at the New York Institute of Technology.

“Our focus really is on underserved and rural populations in Arkansas,” she said. “We’re hoping that we’re able to reach those individuals and simultaneously provide students with valuable rural clinic training.”

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