The Public Health Team
The Mobile Clinic Project (MCP) was first conceived by UCLA public health students in the late 1990s as part of a class project taught by Dr. Michael Prelip. Their idea became a reality after Dr. Prelip, Professor and Department Chair in Community Health Sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health, began a relationship with the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition (GWHFC). He brought these students on-site to perform needs assessments for the population. From here, MCP was born. MCP is now a collaboration between UCLA public health graduate students, medical students, attending physicians, and undergraduate students. Public Health (PH) volunteers oversee many important aspects of MCP, including ongoing needs assessments and coordination with outside resources. In particular, MCP public health volunteers and coordinators routinely perform the following tasks:
Public Health volunteers conduct a variety of surveys for clients and non-clients on-site such as needs assessment, satisfaction, and data collection surveys that aim to evaluate the programs and services offered at the clinic. Needs assessment surveys help us determine what kinds of services are most useful to clients (e.g, medical services, referral, etc.) and what other services are most needed and should be incorporated with our existing program (e.g., legal services). Data collection via surveys administration is vital for both grant purposes and potential studies (e.g., vaccination study). Public Health volunteers also play a crucial role in analysis of the collected data. Additionally, Public Health volunteers help apply for grants and organize fundraising events that are essential to the continued funding of Mobile Clinic Project.
Public Health volunteers canvas potential clients for medical treatment as well as develop and execute events that advance MCP’s mission. Furthermore, our volunteers serve as outreach for the Coordinated Entry System, or CES program. By entering our clients into CES database, the clients enter the housing system that pools together different housing voucher resources in all of LA County, in hopes that they will be matched to a voucher and gain permanent housing. Volunteers also attend CES monthly meetings where they can serve as advocates for individual clients.
Every year, one or two Public Health coordinators oversee the training of new Mobile Clinic caseworkers. Public Health students serve as the leaders for upper division public health courses in the Community Health Sciences department at UCLA, with the supervision of our faculty advisor. These courses occur during the winter and spring quarters of each year and teach the caseworkers about various topics related to homelessness (past topics have included social determinants of health, diseases, and medical insurance). The class serves as a means of enhancing caseworker abilities by bolstering knowledge about the clients we serve and connecting students to various health and social service professionals through guest lectures.
Public Health volunteers help coordinate with other organizations to provide additional services at clinic, such as free HIV testing, legal consultations and transportation assistance. Volunteers are also in charge of coordinating with the FAME Assistance Program on a monthly basis to receive bus tokens and taxi vouchers to provide to our clients. Such vouchers or tokens are used by clients to get to referral sites, medical appointments, job interviews or to obtain governmental documentations.