- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - For almost 20 years, the University of Mississippi School of Nursing has been running the UNACARE Health Clinic in Jackson’s Midtown. Now, it has a new tool to bring medical care to even more patients.

Starting this summer, the clinic will take health care directly to patients in the Midtown area two days a week via its new UNACARE Mobile clinic, which was unveiled Friday.

The van includes an exam room, where a nurse practitioner will see patients and a reception area where another professional will register them.

The idea of the van was born after officials learned that lack of transportation was hindering many in the area from getting to the clinic.

“We looked at the no-show rate and other factors and realized that a large number of people in the area had no transportation,” said Dr. Janet Harris, associate dean of practice and community engagement in the School of Nursing. “We realized we needed to take health care to people in the community.”

The van is a fully equipped clinic on wheels. Harris said the van was built specifically for UMMC to the exact details that the School of Nursing and a nurse practitioner requested, down to the colors and even the flooring.

“It’s amazing how big it is inside. The one word I’ve heard from everyone who has been on the van has been, ‘Wow,’” said Harris.

A two-person team will take the clinic to the Midtown community, with plans to expand services as the need is identified. School of Nursing students will also have the opportunity to work with the mobile clinic.

“Our first goal is to serve the Midtown area; second is to serve Head Start by providing early prescreening diagnostic tests as needed throughout the community and spread from there,” Harris said.

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