|Standing in front of the mobile clinic are VRC team members (from l) Julie Martin, Dr. Barney Graham, Rhonda Washington-Lewis, Brenda Larkin, DeAngela Hamilton, LaChonne Stanford, Pamela Costner, Ingelise Gordon, Tierra Burrell, Sandra Sitar, Sarah Hubka, Laura Novik, Alexis Seguin, Diane Johnson, Yesenia Merino, Olga Vasilenko and Ravenna Motil-McGuire.
|An interior view of the patient care area inside the mobile clinic
If the presence of a large purple, red, white and blue truck parked near Bldg. 40 on June 6 didn’t indicate that something was happening,
the announcements over the bullhorn did. Turns out, the bullhorn was an appropriate symbol for the event—the launch of a mobile clinic by NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center and the Clinical Center.
Dr. Barney Graham, a senior investigator and chief of the clinical trials core and the viral pathogenesis laboratory, said that’s how it’s done in Tanzania. There, health educators attract thousands to HIV/AIDS workshops by driving down the street and calling out with a bullhorn. The new mobile clinic will serve a similar
purpose much closer to NIH—facilitating community involvement and clinical research education in the Washington, D.C., area.
The mobile unit is an extension of the VRC’s vaccine
clinic at the Clinical Center, according to Graham. Currently located on 12W in Bldg. 10, the clinic will eventually move to 5NES. Until then, the clinic team will use the mobile unit to raise awareness about HIV vaccines, increase the capacity for enrolling healthy adults into outpatient
studies and make participation in clinical
trials easier. “These volunteers are typically employed, busy people and we hope the mobile clinic will make enrollment in trials more convenient,
and at the same time extend the visibility of NIH and the Clinical Center,” he said.
VRC staff plan to take the clinic anywhere they are currently involved in HIV/AIDS and other infectious disease outreach, including neighborhoods
in Baltimore, Frederick and the District. They will continue to work with HIV/AIDS organizations,
city health departments, churches, colleges and outreach-event organizers, but in an expanded capacity. The van’s first community
appearance was June 15 at the 33rd annual Capital Pride Festival, the fourth largest lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender celebration in the U.S. with more than 200,000 attendees and more than 200 community organizations, local businesses and corporations participating.—