Healthcare District and partners’ $575K initiative ushers weekly medical services into historically black neighborhood in Palm Springs

With the help of a new $575,000 initiative, healthcare just got more accessible for residents of Desert Highland Gateway Estates, a historically black neighborhood,  and the surrounding area in northern Palm Springs.

The initiative enables a mobile medical unit to visit the historically black and traditionally underserved neighborhood each week. The unit is funded by a $400,000 allocation from the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board of Directors, and $100,000 in additional funds from the Inland Empire Health Plan and $75,000 from Lift to Rise.

Operated and staffed by Borrego Health, the mobile unit provides a variety of medical services for residents, such as family medicine, women’s health and pregnancy tests, immunizations and physicals for school, HIV/STI testing, COVID-19 testing, labs and more. The mobile unit will be parked each week at the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Road in Palm Springs.

Medical exams and visits take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday (See the flyer here).

The major goals of the initiative include increasing the number of persons with a regular source of primary care and reducing non-urgent emergency department use.

“The Desert Highland Gateway Heath and Wellness Committee is thrilled to partner with Desert Healthcare District and Borrego Health to bring the resources of a health access point to the residents of the community, and redirect community residents away from local emergency departments for non-emergent primary care services by introducing them to a free or low-cost, local medical home,” said Deiter Crawford, a Desert Highland Gateway Health and Wellness Committee member.

The initiative was approved by the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board in June 2020 as part of a two-pronged approach to address the healthcare disparities and health and wellness needs that exist for black residents. The Board also moved in 2020 to help diversify healthcare professions by allocating $200,000 for a new Coachella Valley Black and African American Healthcare Student Scholarship. The scholarship will be created with OneFuture Coachella Valley.

“Our Board and staff understand that first-rate healthcare doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” said Conrado Bárzaga, Desert Healthcare District Foundation CEO. “There are social determinants of health and factors such as discrimination and poverty that prevent many residents from receiving the level of care that everyone deserves. Our intention with this initiative is to improve healthcare access for Coachella Valley’s black communities by removing barriers that have accumulated over generations.”



Image Sources

  • Desert Highland Gateway Estates: Facebook