Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine earns national recognition
Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine recently received national recognition for its healthcare efforts for the local homeless community.
Nominated by CenCalHealth, DWW-SBSM received an honorable mention last month from The Association for Community Affiliated Plans at its 15th annual Supporting the Safety Net awards program.
The recognition honors community organizations and individuals throughout the country who exceed expectations for care by implementing health programs to benefit underserved populations, according to officials.
Over the past 15 years, DWW-SBSM has provided free on-the-street medical care to the county’s most vulnerable residents.
In 2019 at its street clinics, DWW-SBSM served more than 500 unduplicated patients and had nearly 1,370 medical encounters, which ranged from respiratory diseases to women’s healthcare, mental health counseling and other services.
“As board president, I am honored to accept this recognition on behalf of Doctor’s Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine for their transformative work. Partnerships between community-based organizations and Safety Net Health Plans like CenCal Health are fundamental in all communities,” Paul Jaconette, the DWW–SBSM board president, said in a statement.
“Together we strive to meet the ultimate goal: Provide a coordinated response that effectively addresses the medical and social needs of vulnerable, underserved populations,” said Mr. Jaconette, who’s also the CenCal Health chief operating officer.
“We appreciate CenCal Health for nominating Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine and thank the Association for Community Affiliated Plans for the honorable mention,” he said.
DWW-SBSM, which operates without brick-and-mortar structures, serves several different environments, such as agricultural fields, cars, parks, encampments and shelters.
Beyond providing medical attention, the group works to guide clients into permanent medical homes that are comprehensive, accessible and focused on quality of care, officials said.
One example is the group’s Companion Care Program, which matches trained student volunteers with homeless individuals.
The companions and patients streamline the process of making and attending medical appointments, which results in those in need seeking regular treatment and management for chronic conditions before they become costly emergencies.
The program also focused on addressing other social determinants of health, which can affect the quality of care.
In 2019, more than 3,250 services were provided by the Companion Care team, including coordinating medical visits and providing resources for food, water and clothing.
This marks the second year that ACAP has selected a submission from CenCal Health for recognition. Last year, the ACAP presented its 14th annual Supporting the Safety Net Award to Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.