Mobile Health Unit to Serve Families in South Carolina
Dr. Youlanda Gibbs is “carrying the torch” for one of the causes the late S.C. Sen. Clementa Pinckney embraced during his time in state government.
Dr. Gibbs, founder and executive director of the Charleston-based non-profit Palmetto Palace Medical Mobile Care Unit, is seeking to address the health care needs of the Lowcountry.
Dr. Gibbs, appearing at Colleton County Council’s March 7 session, explained that while analyzing the data from the non-profit’s work, she noticed that “we were providing so many services to the residents of S.C. Senate District 45 that we needed to connect with that representative.” When that connection was made, Gibbs said, “he (Pinckney) was so happy that we were providing services. He spoke of his mom, how she had died prematurely because she had not had access to medical services. We talked about the importance of bridging the gap in medical care and that was how the mobile medical health care unit was formed,” Dr. Gibbs said.
When Pinckney was killed in the attack on Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, she added, “We decided to carry the torch — to continue
the legacy of Pinckney by providing access to health care services for District 45: Colleton, Hampton, Jasper, Allendale, Beaufort counties and the part of Charleston located within that senate district.”
To accomplish that, Palmetto Palace is currently having a mobile medical unit customized. “It should be here in late August or early September,” Dr. Gibbs told council.
“It is a tele-medicine unit,” Dr. Gibbs said. “The rear will have a nurse practitioner, the front will have a dental hygienist, the middle console will be community resources.”
“It will provide emergency assistance, an adult version of a Ronald McDonald House,” she said. “It is access to health care that they would not normally have.” In addition to telling council members about the mobile clinic, Dr. Gibbs asked for some help.
She asked for county government’s help in identifying locations Palmetto Palace’s mobile unit could park when visiting Colleton County. What she envisioned was having the mobile unit park at a community center during its Colleton County visits. Stopping at a community center, she said, would enable them to provide senior citizens and others visiting the mobile unit shelter from inclement weather while they wait to visit the medical professionals.
County Administrator Kevin Griffin said there were numerous community centers dotting the county and wondered if she was seeking community centers in rural or more urban areas. “We’d like both,” Dr. Gibbs told Griffin. The doctor and administrator agreed to coordinate choosing locations. Dr. Gibbs said she will be back in the county before the mobile unit begins working to meet with other social service groups and agencies. “We want to collaborate with existing organizations to bridge the gap.”