Durham Tech van

Mobile Clinic Provides Healthcare To Kids In Need

HealthPlans of NC

Assandra Baysah

People without reliable transportation may have trouble accessing health care services. But missing important health visits like physicals, eye exams and dental check-ups can have long-lasting effects.

To help bridge these care gaps, Durham Technical Community College (Durham Tech) is taking huge strides. In June, they launched a mobile health lab where students and supervising doctors offer visual and dental health screenings. The lab serves mostly elementary-aged children in undeserved local neighborhoods.

The mobile health unit will provide services in Durham and Orange counties. It will reach students in communities that have over 50% of students on a free or reduced lunch plan.

The mobile unit will:

  • Fit children for glasses and provide glasses free of charge

  • Provide free dental pre-screenings and education

  • Offer health fairs at public elementary schools. During the fairs, students will check vital signs, cholesterol, and glucose. They’ll also offer health and nutrition education to combat childhood obesity.

The mobile unit will also act as a health education tool for Durham Tech students.

“The lab will allow our students to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom and show them firsthand what good their skills can do,” said Melissa Oakley Ockert, dean of health and wellness at Durham Tech. “The lab will allow us to engage with our community in new ways.”

Students will be able to participate in multiple health initiatives, including Dental Laboratory Technology, Nursing, and Opticianry. It is the only program of its kind in the state.

Partnering with East Durham Children’s Initiative, Samaritan Health Center, Missions of Mercy, and local elementary schools, Durham Tech students will assist with dental care and health assessments under faculty guidance. The lab will serve as a space for students and community members to take classes. It may even support COVID-19 response efforts.

“This will give our students critical hands-on experience while also expanding access to wellness for our community, proving once again that Durham Tech has the ability to provide the highest-equality instruction while serving those in need,” said Bill Ingram, Durham Tech president.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina supported Durham Tech’s mobile lab through a $1 million investment. Initiatives like these allow health care workers to meet the needs of people where they work, live and play.

For more information, visit durhamtech.edu.

inside-lab-scaled-6mobile eye-002-scaled-5

Ready to get started?

See plans and pricing today.

Related Articles

Child blowing bubbles
Health, Wellness, Blue Cross NC, Mental Health

100 Screen-Free Ways To Keep Kids Active This Summer

Many of us have wonderful memories of growing up and playing outside, carefree all summer. But today’s kids are more likely to be spending time in front of their mobile devices, computer, or TV. This can lead to being sedentary, feeling isolated, and getting bored.
In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents with obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s (CDC). And with sports and summer camps on hold because of the coronavirus, our kids may be feeling especially stir crazy.
If we can help kids play and be more active, it will benefit them physically and emotionally.
HealthPlans of NC

Michelle Rogers

Kids jumping into a pool
Health, Wellness

How To Keep Kids Safe In The Water This Summer

A child at my son’s school tragically died this spring. He slipped while out fishing at a lake and drowned. He was only nine. I didn’t know this child personally, but I mourned his loss along with the rest of the school community. He had a big, beautiful smile, and those who knew him said he had an even bigger personality. My heart broke for his mother.
No parent, family or community should have to endure the loss of a child from drowning. Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children aged 1 to 14, according to the CDC. Three children in our country die every day as a result of drowning.
Those kinds of stats make me want to keep my kids land-locked. But, like many children, they love water and are drawn to it. Our community pool is closed this summer, so we bought a small (and some might say “tacky”) above-ground pool. My son already knew how to swim, but my daughter has gone from wearing floaties to being a little mermaid in just weeks.
HealthPlans of NC

Maggie Brown

Mother and child wearing masks
Health, Mental Health

7 Tips: Helping Children Overcome Anxieties About Returning To School

My eldest son is 11 years old. After months of home learning, he returned to the classroom last fall. The transition back to the classroom came earlier for our family than for most, but it was still marked by tremendous anxiety for my son. Being with peers isn’t always easy.
Many of us eagerly anticipate the moment when we can gather in groups again. We crave that vital sense of connection to our loved ones, to our peers and to our community. But that doesn’t mean reintegrating into social settings will be easy. It can be especially scary for children.
My son’s reluctance is not an isolated tale. Incidents of children refusing to return to group settings are on the rise. In particular, many parents have noted that their children with anxiety disorders were happier and more comfortable at home. While the pandemic has left most children feeling more stressed, we know that some children with social anxiety or OCD have actually been happier in social isolation.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC By Nora Dennis

People wearing masks in front of a school bus

A Mom's Perspective On Managing A Pandemic Back-To-School Season

One morning in early April – for the first time in 390 days – I packed two lunches, made sure my kids had on their school uniforms, loaded them in the car and took our place in the morning carline.
I was glad for my face mask to hide my emotions as a teacher checked their temperatures and they headed up the stairs to their school building – my fifth grade son with a protective arm around his kindergartner sister, a purple Post-It note with her name and her teacher’s name on her chest.
She’d never been inside the building as a student before.
HealthPlans of NC

Maggie Brown via Blue Cross NC

Ready to get started?

See plans and pricing today.