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UC Riverside Health staff host community resource fair

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UC Riverside Health staff and community partners at the May 16 Community Resource Fair. Left to right: Community Health Worker Supervisor Shirley Saenz, Health Educator Stephanie Sandoval, Supervisor of Patient Access Center and Hulen Place Clinic Ophelia Pena, City of Riverside Access Center Manager Ali Hariri, VCF Lead Clinic Coordinator Vincent Nguyen and Community Health Program Manager Fara Aidul

By the UC Riverside Health Newsroom

On May 16, 2024, the University of California Riverside School of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) Unsheltered Outreach Program (UOP) partnered with Vituity Cares Foundation and the City of Riverside to host a Community Resource Fair at the City of Riverside Access Center Parking Lot.

During the event, CHC distributed essential seasonal hygiene kits to the unsheltered and surveyed individuals about their health and social service needs. UCR Health had a table set up to share information about the valuable healthcare services offered at the clinic and distributed drawstring bags.

Ophelia Pena, the supervisor of the Patient Access Center and Hulen Place Clinic was instrumental in outreach and engagement. She interacted directly with attendees, providing personalized assistance and information about the services available at the Hulen Place Clinic. Through these interactions, Ophelia gained valuable insights into the specific health and social service needs of the unsheltered population, which will inform future service planning and delivery.

By promoting the services offered at the resource fair, CHC increased awareness and utilization of the diverse resources available, ensuring individuals could take full advantage of the support provided. They also referred clients to the Hulen Place Clinic, providing a direct link to continuous care and promoting ongoing health and well-being for the unsheltered population.

Along with the distribution of services, the City of Riverside Access Center and CHC collected important metrics. They gathered client names to maintain a personal touch and ensure accurate record-keeping. Dates of birth were recorded for age-specific services and demographic analysis. Collecting client gender information was important for understanding gender-specific needs and ensuring inclusive care. Data on client race and ethnicity enabled culturally competent care and helped address specific health disparities. Client contact information was essential for follow-ups and continuity of care, while client zip codes helped identify geographic areas with the greatest need, aiding future outreach efforts. Additionally, information on the services clients would utilize helped assess demand for specific services and resources, ensuring adequate preparation for future events.

The range of services offered at the fair was comprehensive, addressing both immediate and long-term needs. Physical exams provided essential health checks, while basic wound care offered on-the-spot treatment for minor injuries. Over-the-counter pain medication helped manage discomfort, improving quality of life. Free COVID and HIV testing ensured community health and safety. Medicare/Medi-Cal sign-up facilitated access to healthcare coverage, reducing financial barriers. Free Starbucks coffee and food from Subway and Starbucks addressed immediate nutritional needs. Free clothing supplied essential items, enhancing dignity and comfort. Hygiene kits were distributed to support personal hygiene, crucial for health and self-esteem. Mental health services from the Mobile Crisis Unit and re-entry services assisted individuals transitioning out of incarceration, supporting successful reintegration into the community.

A total of 76 individuals attended the event, reflecting its reach and impact, and indicating community engagement and the level of need within the population. Collecting these metrics helps in understanding the demographics and needs of the unsheltered population, allowing for better planning and resource allocation in future outreach efforts.

UCR Health hopes to continue partnering with organizations to educate people on the available services and to learn more about community needs.

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