Outreach Van Project
Mission: To fulfill the unmet needs of the medically underserved populations in the Greater Boston area, particularly with regard to health care and access to services, by providing a constant and dependable resource, and thus establishing a sense of trust, with our clients, while also offering an opportunity for students to learn skills in community outreach.
The Outreach Van Project (OVP) at Boston University School of Medicine was founded in January 1997 by several students at BUSM and the School of Public Health under the guidance of an advisory board and aid from several BU affiliated community agencies.
1. To provide basic necessities, including dry food, clothing, toiletries, and a warm meal weekly to our East Boston clientele.
2. To make concerted efforts to connect the underserved to primary care and other community services such as shelters and detox programs by providing physician referrals.
3. To present students the opportunity to work closely with the underserved.
OVP provides reliable and consistent care to the underserved, predominately Hispanic community of East Boston, where 20% of the population and 25% of the children live below the poverty line. Roughly half of our clients are Central American immigrants, including largely women and children, who speak solely Spanish and are not aware of the supportive services available to them. Many of our other clients suffer from addiction issues and mental illness, and we aim to encourage them to seek treatment, as well as provide information on obtaining housing. We are currently the only outreach agency serving the underserved community in East Boston.
The needs of our clientele are addressed by medical students accompanied by a licensed physician. We also integrate basic medical screening, including blood pressure and glucose checks, as well as administer flu shots, in order to further provide services to our clients.