A Different Clientele
Originally Doctors Without Walls had one mobile outreach clinic at Pershing Park. In addition, we now run a clinic at Alameda Park. The Alameda Park clinic occurs every Thursday evening to provide free medical care as well as social services and referrals to other free providers nearby. Alameda is located in heart of downtown Santa Barbara roughly two miles away from Pershing Park on foot; however, the move to Alameda Park was made in response to the need of our patients, not out of a desire to expand. When providing aid to the homeless in our community it is important to not forget their situation as we analyze the bigger picture. As healthcare providers we must examine and treat the social conditions of our patients as well as the medical ones. Walking across town to get a meal or see a doctor is not always worth it when weighed against having your property stolen or walking back when its dark and cold. This is the core mission of Doctors Without Walls: to provide volunteer medical care to the most vulnerable populations when and where they need it. As we provide care to these people we try our best to understand these considerations. We must not forget the importance of listening to friends and neighbors on the street, hearing and understanding their troubles and their hardships so that both parties can be reminded of their humanity and move forward on higher ground.
Since adding Alameda Park to our street clinics, we have found that we serve a population that is completely separate from that at Pershing. We are excited that we get to bring much needed medical care to this new population and hope to continue to expand the scope of the clinic in order to reach a greater population and provide help to those in need. In order to further meet the need of our patients we would like to start doing mobile rounds in the area surrounding Alameda Park to reach individuals who are not able to make it to the clinic. This would mean setting out on foot with street teams and backpacks after the clinic in the park is over.