Family Health Center unveils new mobile medical unit

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A recent study by Bronson Hospital found a direct link between poverty and chronic health issues.

With nearly 70 percent of Kalamazoo Public School students coming from low-income homes, the need for easy access to healthcare is great and growing.

Now, thanks to a $700,000 grant, a new mobile doctor's office will be treating kids right at school.

Tonight it's our turn to ooh and aaah over the shiny new KPS mobile medical unit.

Come Tuesday the kids will be saying "ahh," while they stick out their tongues.

"What this is is essentially a doctor's office on wheels. It will allow us to provide care to all of KPS students, right at school," explained Denise Crawford, with the Family Health Center.

Fueled by a grant from the learning network, and the Kalamazoo Foundation, the mobile medical unit will soon be making house calls, parked outside a different Kalamazoo Public School every day.

The bus is staffed with board certified physicians, nurses and a designated driver.

"We'll take care of colds and flus and minor scrapes and burns," Crawford said.

And the mobile unit can also provide preventative care, like well-visits and immunizations, as well as treatment of chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma.

"We want to ensure that all of our students have access to quality heath care. We know that when children are healthy they do much better in school," Crawford said.

While the mobile medical unit soft-launched this week, the staff will be hard at work come next Tuesday, beginning at Woodward Elementary.

Ideal for parents who work long hours, who may be underinsured and overscheduled, Rico Earl of the Family Health Center says one dad who's already brought in his kids couldn't believe how easy and convenient this is.

"It tugs on your heart strings. We had one of the gentlemen--he was bringing in his daughters. And I asked him, I said have you seen our unit, and he says I've heard about it. I just filled out the paperwork," Earl said.

The mobile unit is also wheelchair accessible, making regular healthcare accessible to every KPS student.

The mobile unit is a collaboration involving KPS, the family health center, the Kalamazoo Foundation, the Learning Network, and Communities in Schools.

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