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College of Health and Behavioral Studies

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Suitcase Clinic is a Unique Healthcare Delivery Model 

Suitcase ClinicThe Healthcare for the Homeless, Suitcase Clinic is a unique healthcare delivery model that addresses the unconventional and complex health concerns of homeless adults and children in the Harrisonburg community. It has established the “Suitcase Clinics”, staffed by volunteer Nurse Practitioners, and a full time Nurse Case Manager, to provide health care at the point of contact in five local shelters and human service agencies. JMU nursing and psychology students volunteer each semester providing an invaluable experiential learning opportunity.

Specifically, it provides onsite urgent care services, chronic illness management, and preventative care to homeless clients enrolled in local shelters while simultaneously providing more comprehensive on-site case management services, when needed. Suitcase ClinicFollow- up care referrals articulate with community partners, including the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Free Clinic (HRFC) and the Sentara SRMH South Main Health Center.

Uniquely, rather than the program functioning within a permanent clinic setting, the supplies are transported in two suitcases on wheels and the clinic functions within private space at the shelter sites.  This new model of healthcare delivery to homeless populations offers an effective and economic model of service that aims to break the cycle of homelessness by providing comprehensive care with positive, long- term results. Over the last twelve months, the Suitcase Clinic provided 1500 clinical visits and saw 246 unduplicated homeless individuals.