Community Health Care Van
The Community Health Care Van (CHCV), created by Dr. Frederick Altice of the Yale AIDS Program, is a 40-foot, mobile medical clinic that travels directly to New Haven’s poorest neighborhoods impacted by HIV/AIDS, illicit drug use, homelessness and mental illness. It overcomes traditional medical care barriers by bridging the gap to link patients to medical and social services.
CHCV will repurpose its activities starting on Monday, April 27, 2020 to assist with combating the COVID-19 epidemic in vulnerable neighborhoods in the New Haven community. With the volatile COVID-19 epidemic, the van’s new mission is to support these communities by helping reduce community transmission by distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) and educational materials on the disease. In addition to handing out facial coverings and educational materials on COVID-19, the van will provide postpartum visits for mothers and their infants, coordinated with telehealth visits with their doctor. Rather than have mothers and infants travel to hospital clinics using public transportation, they can get their care near their homes and reduce risk to themselves or the rest of the community. The van is completely reliant on outside support. Funding from Yale New Haven Hospital’s Physicians Fund to provide community outreach jump-started the initiative with some assistance from the March of Dimes to supplement mother-newborn care. A number of organizations, along with Yale School of Drama, have donated face coverings to support the project. More help, however is needed if services are to continue.
Directed by Sharon Joslin, APRN, FNP, the schedule for the Community Health Care Van is as follows:
- Monday, Wednesday and Friday: At the fenced-in parking lot on Legion and Sherman near Ella Grasso Blvd. from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday and Thursday: At Chapel St. Park in Fair Haven from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Outreach workers will educate and provide PPE to the community, but only mothers and newborn infants will be scheduled for direct clinical care. Learn more in News.
The CHCV provided effective outreach and intervention activities to re-engage individuals who are lost to care with its bilingual staff providing services in primary and HIV care, substance use disorders, mental health, and case management to stabilize those in crisis or in need. Once stabilized, clients transitioned into traditional clinical care sites within New Haven. HIV testing was part of routine care on the CHCV for several years. The advent of the CDC endorsing HIV testing as part of routine care validated that the CHCV is on the forefront of HIV prevention. Other routine screens provided were tuberculosis, hepatitis A, B, C, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
In addition to the CHCV, the program provided health care and harm reduction services (e.g. syringe exchange, naloxone distribution) at no cost to patients at an office location (270 Congress Avenue) and with a minivan that traveled throughout the greater New Haven area.