everyone deserves home

Cool Aid Launches Second Mobile Clinic

July 26, 2023

The Victoria Cool Aid Society and TELUS have announced the expansion of their partnership through TELUS’ Health for Good program, with the launch of a second new mobile health clinic to help address the increasing need for primary health care and provide support for people experiencing homelessness in the capital region. To date, the existing mobile clinic has enabled more than 14,000 patient encounters from citizens throughout the greater Victoria area. The addition of the brand new Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic will double patient capacity, providing much needed services to the over 1,500 individuals experiencing homelessness on any given night in Victoria. The new Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic will expand the program’s reach and service offerings to provide support for sex workers and referrals for dental and physiotherapy services. With the help of local partners, it will also dedicate one day each week to assisting Indigenous community members.

“At TELUS, we are driven by our collective desire to leverage our technological and human innovation to enable better health outcomes for people around the world,” said Jill Schnarr, Chief Social Innovation and Communications Officer, TELUS. “Through our longstanding partnership with the Victoria Cool Aid Society, we are continuing to remove many of the barriers facing underserved and marginalized populations in Victoria by providing access to primary healthcare, mental wellness and addiction support services. By combining technology with human compassion, we are bringing healthcare directly to the communities and people who need it most, reminding our fellow citizens that they’re not alone and helping create a friendlier future for all.”

The new, custom built Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic was designed by ékm Architecture and is equipped with TELUS Wi-Fi network connectivity and TELUS Health electronic medical record (EMR) solutions. The mobile health clinic is staffed by physicians who specialize in addictions medicine, registered nurses with certified practice (expanded scope), as well as health outreach clinicians and peer workers, and will deliver various trauma-informed services, including:

● Primary healthcare such as routine testing, contraception, women’s health services, STI treatment, harm reduction services, and mental health care and counseling
● Specialized support services for sex workers; and
● Administrative aid, including helping clients complete BC Housing documentation.

“Bringing a second mobile clinic to the capital region further expands our community health centre model of care and provides services for those who experience barriers to accessing health care,” said Mary Chudley, director of health and support services at Cool Aid. “Many individuals, including those who are under-housed or experiencing homelessness, have not had access to primary care in years or do not have a documented medical history that can be referenced by healthcare
practitioners. Our existing mobile clinic serves 25 locations on a bi-weekly rotational basis, and we expect this second clinic to more than double our capacity.”

With the addition of the second Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic, more community partners are able to benefit, like the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness society – a key community partner that provides culturally supportive affordable housing and services to help end Aboriginal homelessness on Vancouver Island.

“The Cool Aid mobile health clinics are critical in assisting us to meet the care of the people we serve and house.” said Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, executive director for the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness. “We are so appreciative of the high standard of care received as a result of this partnership and its weekly visits. It brings consistency of service, and access to an Indigenous physician at two of our culturally supportive housing sites on a weekly basis.”

This additional mobile health clinic was made possible with the support of Victoria Foundation, Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group, The Jawl Foundation and Times Colonist and demonstrates the power of businesses working together with community organizations to address pressing societal issues.