You’ve probably never thought of your car as a vehicle to health and wellness. But think about it. Your car takes you to visit the doctor or the hospital, pick up medications at the pharmacy, and buy food at the grocery store. What would you do without a car or other reliable transportation?
“Transportation insecurity is a barrier to health care, particularly among vulnerable communities like those we serve through our Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program,” said Dr. David Brown, interim chair of Department of Humanities, Health, and Society at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM).
As part of NeighborhoodHELP, HWCOM medical students visit households in underserved neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County. They learn first-hand about the socio-economic conditions that impact health outcomes. Lack of access to transportation is one of those factors.
“Without transportation, many of these families don’t have access to simple needs like doctors’ visits and grocery shopping,” said Allison Chin, a second-year medical student and president of the FIU Rotaract Club.
Chin is helping to organize a fundraiser to address transportation insecurity among NeighborhoodHELP household members. The virtual "Walk for Wheels" fundraiser is a joint effort between HWCOM, FIU Rotaract, the American Medical Student Association, and the American Medical Women's Association.
"We are raising money for bus passes that will help them get around," said Chin.
“Each year, 3.6 million people in the United States do not obtain medical care due to transportation issues,” according to the American Hospital Association. There are many barriers to transportation. Some people don’t own a vehicle or can’t afford gas or vehicle repairs. Others lack access to mass transit or can’t afford transportation costs.
“This is a real problem, particularly in managing chronic diseases that require regular follow-up visits and medication, and a lot of our patients have chronic conditions,” said Brown. “We are trying to address the lack of access to health care through our household visits and our Mobile Health Centers, but transportation insecurity remains a real challenge.”
The virtual fundraiser is on Saturday, March 13.
For information on how you can contribute, contact email@example.com.