School of Nursing’s mobile unit brings health care directly to neighborhoods

The School of Nursing's mobile health unit provides health care in the community with support from Superior HealthPlan. On July 17, the MHU went to Oak Manor Apartments to provide well-child visits for children and adolescents before they go back to school. Oak Manor is a Prospera affordable housing community.

San Antonio parents will have another option for well-child health care appointments with a new partnership between Superior HealthPlan and the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing.

Through the agreement Superior, which offers managed health care plans for children and adults throughout Texas, is covering the basic operating expenses for the school’s mobile health unit. The School of Nursing uses the mobile unit to fulfill its clinical, educational and research missions in the community, which now include visits to Superior pediatric patients right in their neighborhoods.

Shown at the July 17 event are Scott Ackerson, LMSW, from Prospera Housing Community Services; Cindy Sickora, D.N.P., RN, from the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing; and Superior HealthPlans’ Susan Mills, Ph.D., RN, and Marina S. Christmas, B.S.N., RN.

On July 17, the School of Nursing provided well-child checkups for patients from birth to age 21 at Oak Manor Apartments. Oak Manor is a Prospera Housing Community Services affordable housing site. Blood pressure, vision and hearing screenings were included in the checkups.

Cindy Sickora, D.N.P., RN, vice dean of practice and engagement in the School of Nursing, said “We are pleased to have this partnership with Superior. Our goal with the mobile health program is to provide access to care while giving supervised clinical experience to our undergraduate and graduate nursing students in the community. The mobile unit gives us another practice option for our faculty nurse practitioners to provide care. We also plan to integrate faculty and student research into the care we provide in the future.”

An example of providing health care access after a natural disaster is the School of Nursing’s deployment of a quick-response team to residents of hard-hit Rockport, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey.

The mobile unit has been used for other community outreach efforts since, but with the Hurricane Harvey project nearly complete, Dr. Sickora had been searching for a new partner to support the school’s community health efforts more permanently after the university purchased the mobile unit.

“We were so glad when Superior agreed to work with us. Their funding pays for maintenance, fuel and the driver to allow us to expand our mobile health program in the community,” she said. Since January, the mobile unit has visited several Prospera affordable housing sites in San Antonio to provide care to Superior pediatric patients.

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