CREA Results Mobile Health Unit
The Ventanilla de Salud, a program of the Mexican government trough the Border Health Commission, provides culturally competent health and social services and information at the 50 Mexican consulates across the United States. Mexican nationals living in the U.S. can access health information, counseling, and referrals at a Ventanilla de Salud. Through the Ventanilla de Salud, the Mexican Consulate addresses many of the same issues Latino-serving community-based organizations do. They provide culturally competent preventative health services, increase health insurance coverage, and reduce the use of emergency services. These common goals create many opportunities for collaboration.
The Border Health Commission in partnership with Mexican Consulates invested in 11 mobile units or unidades móviles across the country to serve Mexicans living in the United States beyond the Ventanillas de Salud. The mobile units are large vehicles that travel outside of the Consulates to provide disease prevention, health promotion, educational, legal, and financial services directly to the community. The Consulate partners with community organizations to host the mobile units and conduct community outreach activities. CREA Results, a grassroots community organization in the Denver, Colorado region with its own promotores program, applied and was selected to host the mobile unit from the General Consulate of Mexico in Denver.
The mobile unit is an innovative strategy to reach community members. CREA Results is based in the metropolitan Denver region, but with the mobile unit, promotores can provide services to communities hours outside their typical service area. Once CREA Results began providing mobile services, many organizations expressed interest in forming partnerships to bring their services to new and existing clients. CREA Results agreed to memorandums of understanding with organizations to provide the community with a wealth of available services. CREA Results’ partners include community-based organizations, universities, and social service providers in the region. The mobile unit has two patient beds and ample room to conduct screening, referral, and educational services.
CREA Results promotores and their community partners provide fluoride treatments and oral health exams, immunizations, cancer screenings, and services to combat homelessness among other services through the mobile unit. One of CREA Results’ partnerships is with a local university. Nursing students from the partner university provide basic clinical services while CREA Results promotores deliver health system navigation and education services.
The mobile unit provides CREA Results with extensive opportunities to collaborate in the community and support a wider range of programs than in the past. For example, CREA Results is an active partner in the Health Powers Life campaign, an effort of the Aurora, Colorado Office of International and Immigrant Affairs and the Health Department to deliver healthy lifestyle and prevention messaging to local immigrant and refugee populations.
The mobile unit is versatile; CREA Results and their partners can reach physically and socially isolated communities throughout the state. CREA Results promotes the mobile unit’s schedule through social media and the radio. The mobile unit itself draws interest at community events. Promotores and representatives from community partner organizations attend community events such as Denver Pride, the Colorado Latino Festival, church events, and fitness expos. The mobile unit allows CREA Results promotores to conduct outreach at less formal events as well. Promotores park the mobile unit outside of popular bars and offer on-site sexual health screening and education with Denver Health Hospitals. CREA Results promotores drive the mobile unit to historically underserved communities and conduct door-to-door outreach activities with Clinica Tepeyac, Sheridan Health Services, and others. Typically, between three and five promotores attend the smaller community events and up to 10 promotores attend larger events.
The mobile unit allows CREA Results, the Mexican Consulate, and their partner organizations to broaden the reach of their services to the benefit of communities across Colorado. CREA Results promotores gain access to new and larger audiences and are afforded opportunities to work with closely with community health and social service professionals.