Over 100 guests were on hand at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville Nov. 1 as the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Community Health Programs introduced its newest mobile clinic unit with tours of the unit and celebratory remarks.
Since 1994, CHP’s mobile clinics have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, bringing health care to people in 22 counties in southeast Ohio – many of whom say they would not have received care without them. CHP officials estimate they have had more than 388,000 patient interactions through clinical services, navigation and health education programs since its inception. The new rolling clinic replaces the older of CHP’s two mobile units.
By taking needed health care out into communities throughout the region, CHP’s programs “translate our college’s mission and values into action,” Ken Johnson, D.O., Heritage College executive dean and Ohio University chief medical affairs officer, told those in attendance at the new mobile clinic launch, adding that the new unit means “we can take more services to more people in more places.”
The Heritage Mobile Clinic is made possible through the generosity of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and its award to the college, Vision 2020: Leading the Transformation of Primary Care in Ohio. Johnson expressed gratitude to OHF and others who have provided support for CHP programming, including the Charitable Healthcare Network, Susan G. Komen Columbus, community partners throughout southeast Ohio and the Ohio Legislature.
Terri Donlin Huesman, president and CEO of the OHF, echoed Johnson’s sentiments about the importance of serving the region’s health care needs. “What brings us here today is a commitment to a place – and that place is southeast Ohio,” she said. Donlin Huesman called the new mobile clinic, parked outside on Nelsonville’s Public Square during the event, “a visual representation of how the Foundation’s 2011 transformational funding award to the Heritage College is at work in the community, improving access to care.”
Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis, Ph.D., called the mobile clinic and the services offered by CHP an excellent example of something he called for in his investiture address a year ago, when he said the university needed to become “a catalyst for change, enhancing quality of life in Appalachia.” To say that CHP’s programs do this, he added, “is an understatement… People in southeast Ohio are better because of these mobile clinics.”
Deb Miller, executive director of the Charitable Healthcare Network, noted that in 2015, CHP’s Heritage Community Clinic, based on the Heritage College’s Athens campus, was named Free Clinic of the Year by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Association of Free Clinics (now known as the Charitable Healthcare Network). “This mobile clinic is yet another example of your ability to find ways to deliver quality care to the many who would otherwise go without care,” she said.
The Heritage College’s Community Health Programs provide free and reduced-cost health care services for children and adults throughout southeast Ohio, including health screenings, family navigator services, immunizations, specialty and primary care clinics, and more. For more information, visit https://www.ohio.edu/medicine/community-health/community-clinic/index.cfm.