October 30, 2006
State Public Health Director promotes mobile health programs to provide health services in underserved communities
The State plays a big part in expanding mobile health services
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, spoke today at the first Illinois Mobile Healthcare Forum to tout the importance of expanding Mobile Healthcare Programs. Mobile Healthcare increases access to healthcare including basic preventive services, screenings, and treatment in areas that may otherwise go underserved. Mobile Healthcare acts as a bridge to patients. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has led in the expansion of Mobile Healthcare. The Department spoke at the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation’s National program in May to provide background about how to start a Mobile Healthcare Program.
“We know the importance of providing access to healthcare,” said Dr. Whitaker. “The State offers Mobile Healthcare services through our Wellness on Wheels vans. We started this initiative while working with the Champaign Urbana Public Health District to provide funding for its HIV/STD mobile outreach that offered services in area of central Illinois. The effort was so successful we expanded it into the Wellness on Wheels program, to offer services throughout Illinois. We currently have two vans in operation and plan to implement three more over the next three years.”
Attendees were able to tour several Mobile Healthcare units on display during today’s meeting, including the newest IDPH Wellness on Wheels van, which is a multi-disciplinary mobile unit that provides a variety of health screenings including HIV rapid testing, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
Representatives from established Mobile Healthcare programs, including Mobile Health Provides Coalition of Chicago and the Mobile Health Clinics Network, offered insight, shared their expertise, and presented start-up details about their initiatives.
“This effort to establish more Mobile Healthcare Services strikes at the heart of our mission,” said Susan Kerr, President of the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation. “We’re involved in efforts that create opportunities for and lead in the development of initiatives that improve the health of all children. Mobile Healthcare will strengthen the safety net system that delivers healthcare throughout Illinois.”
DPH works with health agencies and hospitals to provide staff and services in the Wellness on Wheels van at sites where people can come for free medical services.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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