MRC Unit Partners with Doctors Without Walls to Vaccinate Homeless
April 28, 2010
Reaching out to Protect against H1N1
Forty-nine people were vaccinated, including many high-risk unsheltered people who wouldn’t have been vaccinated otherwise. The March clinic occurred in conjunction with a weekly free breakfast for the homeless at the downtown Santa Barbara Veterans’ Hall, sponsored by Organic Soup Kitchen. The fear of the vaccine and medical providers among the homeless proved to be a challenge for the volunteers; however, the volunteers were able to provide basic first aid and medical consultative services to many people, whether or not they received the vaccine.
Experience Brings Connection to the Community
"I think the collaborative mobile vaccination clinic model is replicable, and I hope it will be deployed in the future by our MRC and other MRC units," said Jennifer Eskridge, MPH, CHES, SB-MRC Coordinator. "We hope other homeless programs around the nation will want to partner with their local MRC to utilize this model next flu season after they learn more about these outreach efforts."
SB-MRC Medical Director, Dr. Noemi “Mimi” Doohan; Dr. Neil Jayasekera, Contra Costa County MRC volunteer; and Dr. Jim Withers, founder of the Street Medicine Movement, are presenting about the Street Medicine Movement at the National Health Care for the Homeless Conference in San Francisco in June 2010. Dr. Doohan will be speaking about the partnership in Santa Barbara and the success of the H1N1 homeless vaccination efforts.
For more information about DWW-SBSM, visit www.santabarbarastreetmedicine.org.
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