Morehouse School of Medicine unveils a Mobile Clinical Research Unit to help fight health disparities in disenfranchised communities. (KreativTouch Photography)

by Christopher A. Daniel

Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) unveiled its premier Mobile Clinical Research Unit on December 6.

The 30-foot long RV is the first of its kind in the entire state of Georgia. The clinical unit will travel and provide outreach into metro Atlanta and various rural areas to treat patients unable to have access to proper medical attention or transportation to a research center. America’s only other similar mobile facility is The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The $600,000 handicapped accessible camper is fully equipped with the same technology and capabilities as MSM. The trailer’s interior features two full exam rooms, a waiting area, telemonitoring equipment, a processing area, wireless computers, freezer, refrigerator, plasma monitors, a satellite phone and a retractable wall. One exam room includes a treadmill and state-of-the-equipment used in cardio testing, ultrasounds and EKGs. Across the front is a shaded seating area used strictly for consultation. The full unit is fireproof, soundproof and has individual temperature settings in each room.

Research will be conducted relating to health disparities primarily affecting African Americans such as strokes, hypertension, Vitamin D and diabetes. Designed in direct correlation to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) standards, MSM’s Mobile Clinic Research Unit is a breakthrough for both medicine and community health in the Southeast. “This unit is designed and equipped for patient safety,” says Priscilla Johnson, MSN, PhD, MSM’s Assistant Director of Clinical and Administrative Affairs. “It’s about taking care of patients and improving healthcare.”

Morehouse School of Medicine, one of America’s four Historically Black medical schools, commemorated the development with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and scheduled tours. Some of the institution’s distinguished alumni include U.S. Surgeon Generals and medical school presidents. In the past, MSM hosted health screenings at numerous health fairs, churches and community centers.

The Winnebago is the end result of a 10-year project to further educate and eliminate health disparities.

“Data is just as carefully gathered and protected as it is here,” says Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, FACC, Chief, Cardiology and Director of Clinical Research Center. “This can be backed up with all of the technology that we have. It’s about recognizing that things had to be done.”

Christopher A. Daniel is a pop cultural critic and music editor for The Burton Wire. He is also a contributing writer for Urban Lux Magazine and Blues & Soul Magazine. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.

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