The Westside Family Health Center’s new Mobile Medical Unit has hit the streets of Los Angeles to provide comprehensive health and educational services in local neighborhoods, schools and work sites.

The Santa Monica-based health center was joined by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom and Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, as well as community members for the launch of its Mobile Medical Unit Sept. 26.

Health center officials predict that the 36-foot vehicle, which has two exam rooms, a clinician area, small lab, a vaccine freezer and refrigerator and a small waiting room, will reach about 1,475 new patients in the first year of operation.

“We are excited to offer this new service to our community,’’ Debra A. Farmer, Westside Family Health Center’s president/CEO, said of the medical unit.

Staffed by the health center’s professional staff including a health care provider and a member of the community outreach and education team, the vehicle will offer a key benefit to the community given the increasing numbers of uninsured and underinsured people, and it furthers the center’s commitment to community health since 1974, center officials noted.

The mobile unit can also help improve issues of access to the Westside Family Health Center building for some patients by operating in high-traffic areas near well-traveled bus routes, center officials believe.

The Mobile Medical Unit was purchased through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant, whose funds were for the purchase only. The center will additionally have to raise funds for the unit’s operational costs from individual and institutional sources such as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Third District, which has provided funding.

“We were very pleased to provide early funding for Westside Family Health Center’s new Mobile Medical Unit. By bringing the Mobile Medical Unit out to patients in the community, we are taking another significant step towards eliminating the barriers to accessing quality health care,” Yaroslavsky said.

Information about the Westside Family Health Center or the new Mobile Medical Unit, Sandra Mendez at (310) 450-4773, ext. 242, or smendez@wfhcenter.org.

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