PALM DESERT – A nearly $63,000 grant to strengthen street medicine efforts for the homeless and unsheltered people in the Coachella Valley has been awarded to Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus nursing program.
The grant from the Caldwell-Weiss Trust, which is operated through Morgan-Stanley, a leading global financial services firm, will be used to support faculty oversight and supervision of CSUSB nursing students at various street medicine sites, the engagement of nursing students at all degree levels to assist in completing clinical or volunteer hours through the street medicine program, the collection of data and the purchasing of equipment and supplies.
The Street Medicine program is a collaborative partnership between the California State University, San Bernardino Department of Nursing at the Palm Desert Campus; the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine/Health Family Medicine Center; and the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine.
Numerous reports indicate that the Coachella Valley needs enhanced healthcare services for the homeless population, including mental health services. Homeless individuals are known to utilize emergency rooms rather than traditional healthcare for a variety of reasons: there is limited access to primary and secondary care near homeless encampments, many homeless individuals distrust healthcare providers and seek help only when the need is serious and many have no health insurance.
Even if they would qualify for insurance, homeless individuals may require help to sign -up and maintain the information. Also, many are undocumented and fear exposure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they seek services. Further, many healthcare providers will not accept publicly -funded health insurance. For these reasons, the street medicine teams provide a valuable service at no cost to these drastically underserved individuals and families.
“The street medicine programs provide healthcare to people who might otherwise go to an emergency room for problems that can be treated in the community,” said Diane Vines, street medicine grant coordinator and CSUSB nursing faculty. “The grant facilitates the opportunity for our nursing students to develop an understanding of, and empathy for, members of the homeless population.”
These are various participants from different organizations working together in the street medicine program.