Windsor-Essex Ontario Health Team launches new mobile health clinic

Essex Borough Director Gary McNamara says a mobile health clinic will help health professionals better respond to residents in crisis situations in high-priority neighborhoods.

“I think it’s a model for many other regions in the province to look to,” he said.

Health Secretary Sylvia Jones has seen variations in idea work across the province.

“Frankly, this partnership is probably the most comprehensive in terms of partnerships,” Jones said at the official opening of the Windsor Essex Ontario Health Team’s mobile clinic.

“During COVID, we had a team that went into these vulnerable communities,” explained Claudia Den Boer, the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) High Priority Community local leader. “It became very clear that we had to move on.”

Ambulance vehicles have been deployed during the pandemic to support vaccination, testing and other support in high-priority communities, according to Den Boer. Given the success, her group was able to use a portion of the $1.2 million in High Priority Community funding received from the province to build the $400,000 mobile clinic.

“That way we could now become more self-sufficient and have our own vehicle to go into these communities to do this work,” she said.

Operated by the Windsor Essex Ontario Health Team (OHT), the mobile clinic offers a variety of supports including mental health, addiction and dentistry.

“We have 45 healthcare partners who share the same vision and mission to support our community and provide access to healthcare,” said Kristin Kennedy, CEO of Erie Shores Healthcare.

Windsor Essex OHT Outreach Director Neelu Sehgal added: “We work directly on the ground with each community partner and leader to see where those needs lie. then we will try to cover this need in the truck.”

The clinic will have between five and seven staff members for each trip and has already been on the road. During a recent 12-week soft launch, mobile clinic staff noted that some of the people seen would initially use the hospital’s emergency room for acute care.

“We see that connection. We’re able to provide those heartfelt handoffs to community partners and referrals, and we’re building trust in that community so it’s very well received,” Sehgal said.

The mobile clinic will be in Brentwood from Tuesday morning for a two-day stay and will be parked at Bridge Youth Center in Leamington on Thursday and Friday.

Check the Windsor-Essex OHT website for future stops.