Removing barriers to essential public health services is a foundational priority of public health and Buncombe County has invested in ensuring that access to these services are provided throughout our community.
The Buncombe County Public Health Outreach Mobile Team (Mobile Team) continues to serve every corner of Buncombe County. In response to community needs, the Mobile Team has brought public health services out of the building and into the community, meeting people where they are. Services so far have included a variety of vaccines to reduce infection and community spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, health education, harm reduction services such access to Narcan, a lifesaving medication, test strips, assessment, and referral for other public health clinical, social, and economic services to ensure whole person health.
“Providing services out into communities is one way to provide equitable opportunities for health,” states Public Health Director Dr. Ellis Matheson, “Our mobile team focuses on providing services to historically marginalized populations, low-income areas, and rural communities, and we have seen great demand and appreciation for this service.”
Serving those in equity-focused domains, the goal of the Mobile Team is to help make public health services more equitable and accessible to Buncombe residents who may not have transportation, may have limited or no access to health providers, who feel unsafe or anxious about seeking care, or those who face barriers receiving essential public health services.
The Buncombe County Public Health Mobile team is managed by a supervisor and is staffed by two public health nurses, who provide health assessment, education, clinical services, and community referrals for other social determinants of health. Two paramedics help with logistics, medical monitoring, education, and referrals. The team also includes an administrative assistant who keeps the large amount of medical and billing paperwork organized and keeps their busy calendar on track.
The response from the community has been great. Providing mobile services is an excellent opportunity to partner with community organizations that are already trusted and have a relationship within different communities.
Since the mobile team launched in July 2022, they have attended over 100 events serving more than 1700 people providing vaccines, health and harm reduction education, and referrals. They are awaiting the arrival of a larger mobile clinic with exam rooms on board which will bring more Buncombe County service out into our community, including expanded clinical services.
“Despite long weekends and late nights, the commitment to serve has remained front and center for this team. The fight for health equity continues one step at a time. In the words of Dr. Cameron Webb, ‘The natural social history of many diseases is that they tend toward inequality unless you intentionally combat it.’ The Mobile Team intends to keep doing just that.”
Work with us
If you want to partner with the Public Health Outreach Mobile Health Team at your event or have information about your services on board, click the link: Public Health Outreach Mobile Team request form to make a request.