The New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University has been awarded a $828,748 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a mobile medical clinic.
Health care outcomes in the Mississippi Delta region are among the worst in the nation, creating a high demand for clinically trained rural physicians and health professionals. So NYITCOM at A-State, in collaboration with the A-State College of Nursing & Health Professions, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Northeast Family Medicine Residency Program and St. Bernards Medical Center's Internal Medicine Residency Program, will develop the "Delta Care-a-van."
The mobile clinic is set to begin visiting Harrisburg, Leachville, Lepanto, Manila, Piggott, Walnut Ridge and Marked Tree in late summer 2018. It expects to conduct at least 78 encounters over the course of approximately 18 months, and will offer evening hour services.
Funded by the USDA Delta Healthcare Service Grant, with $828,748 awarded in federal shares and $228,604 provided in kind, this service will expand care to patients who might otherwise be unable to see a physician.
Patients visiting the mobile clinic will receive health education and screenings for untreated chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, and anxiety/depression, as well as referrals to regional physicians for follow-up care. The patients will not be charged and will not be required to make appointments to received mobile clinic services.
"The Delta Care-a-van program will allow us to remove several of the obstacles to health care that have prevented local residents from receiving the health services and education they deserve and need," Shane Speights, site dean at NYITCOM at A-State, said in a news release. "At the same time, this service will provide valuable clinical training to an 'army' of future physicians and health care professionals, and will also expose them to the joys, opportunities, and challenges of rural practice."
The mobile clinic will be equipped with two examination rooms and state-of-the-art telemedicine technology. It will offer a training program for medical students from NYITCOM at A-State, resident physicians from UAMS and St. Bernards Medical Center, and A-State nursing and social work students.
Under the guidance of NYITCOM at A-State faculty and trained medical experts, the students will conduct screenings and wellness examinations. Patients requiring additional treatment will be connected to local providers or receive telemedicine consultation while on board the mobile clinic.
NYITCOM at A-State will also be collecting data regarding diabetes, obesity, immunization and vaccination, prenatal care, mental health, and other health topics to measure performance levels and determine strategies for improving patient outcomes.