Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine’s brand new Mobile Health Education Clinics (MHEC) debuted during a week-long local mission trip last week serving migrant farm workers and their families in Mt. Olive, NC.
Overall, the team provided health assessments, COVID testing and administered the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine for 76 patients. They enrolled 100 patients, including children, for continued follow-up and primary care through the Community Care Clinic.
The MHEC fleet includes two 40-ft. clinic vehicles and a 26-ft. clinic vehicle. The 40-ft. vehicles each have a waiting room, two full-sized patient rooms, and are equipped to provide services available in a family physician’s office – from general health screenings to minor surgical procedures. The clinic vehicles are complimented by a tent system that provides additional patient waiting, treatment and education space.
“This has afforded us the ability to really expand,” shared Dr. Joe Cacioppo, chair of community and global health and associate professor of emergency medicine. “We are 100 percent equipped to do full-fledged primary care for communities that have no access to healthcare otherwise.”
“This [first trip] has been a real success,” he continued. “We’re identifying so many people that really need ongoing care. I think I’m going to have an overbooked clinic for the next several weeks!”
CUSOM’s medical outreach team collaborated with NC Field to host the clinic and worked alongside two other organizations throughout the week who were providing diapers and supplies for new moms and meals for patients coming through each evening.
“The real success [this week] was student education and the ability to offer care for people who have no other resource,” shared Dr. Cacioppo.
Medical outreach trips – both local and abroad – provide students with direct access and experience learning while serving and providing medical care first-hand with rural and underserved populations. Students not only hone their clinical skills, but they learn the importance of developing trust and connection with their patients.
“The students see how important it is to relate directly and develop a relationship with their patients,” said Dr. Cacioppo. “They take everything they’re learning in medical school and are able to put it right to work and see how it can be effective. That kind of first-hand experience will impact them as a future physician or healthcare provider.”
“We talk a lot about empathy and connecting with patients,” echoed Mr. Doug Short, administrative director for the department of community and global health. “Today, I asked the students to focus on three things – eye contact, facial expression and body posture. Each of these things communicates to patients that [the student] is present with them.”
Brittany Lugmayer, a rising second-year medical student, shared her experience serving in Mt. Olive – her first medical outreach trip with Campbell.
“I think it really helps you see the difference between learning medicine and doing medicine,” said Lugmayer. “I want [patients] to be able to learn to make healthy choices that impact them. That’s important, especially in a rural area, because people don’t have access to [healthcare]. I like helping others to help themselves and making it sustainable so that it’s something they can continue doing … it’s uplifting to see how grateful the patients are for your time and care. It reminds you why you’re here and why you want to be a doctor.”
The Mt. Olive outreach was also Emmanuel Ayeni’s first outreach with Campbell. A rising second-year Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student, Ayeni was excited to gain new experience alongside physicians and PAs to give back to the underserved community.
“Seeing all of the healthcare workers and medical students doing hard work – it inspired me,” he shared. “I haven’t had very much experience working with underserved populations, so I thought it would be great to jump in and volunteer … to do my part.”
Ms. Jaclyn Blair, PA-C, works with students during medical outreach events and weekly at the Community Care Clinic. She shared how these opportunities are great for students because they can spend more time with the patient in a healthcare setting than they are able to during clinical skills labs.
“The students get to see patients that have multiple problems at once and sit with them for 30-45 minutes – collecting a complete history and practicing their communication skills,” she explained. “Then they come present to us, ask us questions, and we can affirm their diagnosis and treatment plan when we go in and see the patient together. It gives them a good experience … and I think it can help them with empathy as well.”
“We are also able to see that there are different ways to get access and to care for underserved populations. That’s important because it’s not something you always just have a class on … but there are people willing to give their time, money and efforts to see people who don’t have the resources otherwise. Hopefully, it can open their eyes and heart to maybe one day also do the same.”
The Mobile Health and Education Clinics project development was supported by the NC HB 1043 COVID-19 Response through Campbell University, Inc. and the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine Grant Agreement 25-00.
Read more about the new Mobile Health Education Clinics dedication ceremony here: https://news.campbell.edu/articles/mobile-units-to-expand-campbells-health-care-reach-in-the-state/