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SLU Receives $500,000 in Federal Funding for New Mobile Health Clinic

U.S. Rep Cori Bush recently visited Saint Louis University to celebrate $500,000 in federal funding she has secured for a new Saint Louis University Mobile Health Clinic that will serve areas where citizens lack nearby health care facilities, transportation to clinics or the technology to use telehealth options.

SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.; Congresswoman Cori Bush; and School of Medicine Dean Christine Jacobs, M.D. with the $500,000 check for funding Bush secured for the University to purchase a mobile health clinic. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

"We are honored to welcome U.S. Rep. Cori Bush to campus," said SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., kicking off a special event on May 4 in the Health Sciences Education Union. "We are proud that these funds will support a project that is at the heart of our mission. Thank you, Rep. Bush, for making this vision a reality."

SLU was one of four stops the congresswoman made as she traveled across the St. Louis region on a "Health Care Heroes" tour, delivering checks to the recipients of her Community Projects Funding for fiscal year 2022.  Bush successfully won all 10 of her projects their full funding amounts, totaling more than $9 million.

SLU will use the $500,000 to purchase and equip a mobile health clinic that will provide the region’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised populations convenient access to basic exams, immunizations, health screenings and other routine care that can help avoid more costly services or visits to the emergency room.

Christine Jacobs, Ph.D., vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said the idea for the mobile clinic was developed with the late Jonathan Smith, Ph.D., SLU’s inaugural vice president for diversity and community engagement, who passed away on Juneteenth in 2021.

Jacobs said the mobile health clinic will build upon the longstanding work of SLU’s Health Resource Center in north St. Louis, where the medical students and physicians have provided free health care services to those in need since 1994.

With connections to SLU’s School of Medicine, Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing and Doisy College of Health Sciences, the mobile clinic also will train and engage a pipeline of health care providers to serve the community, while bringing nutrition and health education to underserved populations.

"Thank you, Congresswoman Bush. We’re so honored to be one of your projects," Jacobs said at the event. "We’re really happy because we feel that our van will reach out to people who may be in a health care desert at the moment and don’t have health care, as well as to our unhoused population in St. Louis."

As a registered nurse who once worked at SLU, Bush said she knows the profound needs of the community and "couldn’t be more proud" to support the University’s mobile health clinic project, which is expected to roll out later this year.  

"Every project that we selected had to demonstrate strong community support and that it would meet the critical needs of this community," Bush said. "You all are doing that work every single day, so we want to do what we can to partner to make sure that you are able to continue that work.

"This $500,000 investment that you are pioneering is an investment in people," Bush added. "We know this mobile health clinic is vital to keeping people healthy, keeping people employed, keeping people housed."

In addition to visiting SLU, Bush also made stops at Affinia Healthcare, which received $2 million for a new community health center in Ferguson; CareSTL Health, which received $1 million toward the construction of a Ville Wellness Campus; and Hospital to Housing (H2H), a joint effort of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Patrick Center that received $800,000 for apartments that serve unhoused patients who frequently seek shelter in emergency rooms.