Health on Wheels

CMU health professions vehicle to visit rural areas and improve access to health care
Mobile Health Central

The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at Central Michigan University is ready to take its faculty, staff and students on the road.

Parked behind the north end of the Health Professions building on a cement pad, Mobile Health Central is a customized, 39-foot motor home that will serve rural Michigan residents by providing access to high-quality health care and preventative health education through community outreach efforts.

“Mobile Health Central expands the college’s mission of serving and enhancing health care in areas of need in Michigan,” said Christopher D. Ingersoll, dean of The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions. “It will be incorporated into our student learning, research and outreach efforts.”

Funded by a $500,000 grant from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation of Midland, Mobile Health Central will act as an extension of CMU’s Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education, which serves more than 8,000 patients each year in the Health Professions building on CMU’s Mount Pleasant campus. The goal is to improve health and quality of life by reaching into communities through local partnerships and collaborations to address gaps in access to health care services.

The cost of the services provided will be similar to what a patient would pay if visiting the Carls Center on CMU’s campus, however, it is hoped that free services could be provided through sponsors or investors. Many insurances are accepted.

When the grant was announced in January, Margaret Ann Riecker, then president of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, said the vehicle provides an excellent opportunity for the college’s students and faculty to collaborate with rural health organizations across the state to improve the quality of life for community members.

“CMU health professions students and faculty will be able to work with local school districts and civic groups to promote healthy lifestyles and research regional health issues,” she said.

While not uncommon in the field of medicine, the Mobile Health Central vehicle is unique to a college campus. Equipped with medical necessities such as exam tables, sinks and a soundproof booth for hearing testing, it will provide additional training opportunities for CMU health professions students and interdisciplinary partnership opportunities in health care research across campus.

“It’s great to be able to have the opportunity to extend the clinic’s services and education for our students and for patients,” Karen Haskin, director of clinical services for the Carls Center, said. “Health care is moving toward a focus on the community. Mobile Health Central fits right in with that.”

The college will make the vehicle available for public viewing and an informational walk-through tour during an open house in September. A date will be announced soon.

For more information about bringing Mobile Health Central to your community, contact Karen Haskin, Carls Center director of clinical services, at (989) 774-6624 or haski1kj@cmich.edu.

The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions offers students a challenging, vibrant and diverse learning community, rich in clinical experiences, internships, research and community outreach. A national leader in a variety of health professions, CMU graduates students with physician assistant, physical therapy, audiology, speech-language pathology and athletic training degrees. For more information, visit chp.cmich.edu.