LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Partnering with the University of Louisville, an agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination tested two brand-new mobile health units last week at a School of Nursing-run clinic.
The North American Mission Board (NAMB), the domestic mission agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, brought the mobile clinics – one for dental services and the other for basic medical screenings – to the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center on May 20 to treat its first patients. Faculty members from the UofL School of Dentistry and School of Nursing worked at the clinics for the day, seeing patients from the nonprofit center that serves the backside track workers at Churchill Downs.
NAMB wanted to gauge the efficiency of the clinics and get feedback from the health providers. The units will officially launch in St. Louis a week before the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting June 14-15. Eventually, the clinics will travel across the United States to provide free health care for in-need populations and possibly to provide care as part of disaster relief efforts.
“This is a test run to make sure everything is where it needs to be and operational,” said Judy Cape, logistics specialist with NAMB. “We’re looking for suggestions on what we need to do to tweak the units and stock them any differently.”
Whitney A. Nash, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., UofL School of Nursing associate dean of practice and service, said the state-of-the-art units didn’t need much improvement.
The dental clinic has an X-ray machine and two operatory rooms and the medical clinic has two exam rooms, a bathroom and an intake area.
“They’re really great quite honestly,” Nash said. “Preparing for a particular disaster response would be critical because you couldn’t equip it for every contingency, there just isn’t enough space. Having the supplies ready so you could quickly mobilize would be key.”
The mobile units came to the racetrack clinic with help from David C. Jones, D.M.D., lecturer at the School of Dentistry. Jones is a member of the same congregation as David Melber, NAMB’s vice president of Send Relief, which oversees the mobile clinics.
“I knew that NAMB was looking to test the units,” Jones said. “We’ve got all these track workers here, and I thought it would be great to have the mobile units treat them.”