Mobile Clinic Project at UCLA works towards helping the homeless population in West Hollywood by providing for a number of needs: medical care, health promotion, disease prevention activities, legal advocacy and referrals to health and social services. Because of their wide range impact and their commitment to addressing a social need through a variety of outlets, the UCLA Volunteer Center Fellows awards the Mobile Clinic Project the Bruin Heroes Award for Fall 2011.
The project officially launched in 2002 after a group of public health students were informed about the West Hollywood homeless population need for medical care by the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition (GWHFC) in 1999. The students soon discovered there were a number of other barriers faced by the homeless population. The group then reached out to medical and law students as well as undergraduates for their help in creating an outreach program, which became the Mobile Clinic Project.
Mobile Clinic has since been working with the GWHF, a volunteer organization that serves food to the homeless population in West Hollywood each week. The project has also expanded to include over fifty undergraduate volunteers from all majors as well as a number of medical and law students.
“We are a very interdisciplinary project,” Mobile Clinic Operations Coordinator, Kaylin Nguyen, said. “No matter what you’re interested in, whether it’s nonprofit, medical, legal, or social issues, if you’re interested in something, you can explore it here. There’s something for everyone here.”
Undergraduate volunteers commit 50 hours a quarter to the project and they even work during the summer. Along with serving food with GWHC, Mobile Clinic volunteers attend site every Wednesday in West Hollywood where they meet with the homeless population. Volunteers set up tables, help take down the medical history of their clients, hand out medication and supplies, and refer clients to other resources. Volunteers must also visit clinics in Santa Monica on Saturdays where they help the homeless population with mental health issues.
“We’re really allowing our volunteers to interact with the community we’re working with,” Nguyen said. “They are working with the clients, finding out the resources not available for their clients as well as about the barriers, mentally and socially, that the clients encounter.”
For the Mobile Clinic Project, it is not only important to outreach to their site population, but it is also essential that their volunteers learn about the very issue they are working towards solving.
For more information about the Mobile Clinic Project at UCLA, visit their website.