USF Health unveils Mo-Bull Health Care Unit, operations to begin fall 2023

Health care scholars, staff and students gathered at the USF College of Nursing parking lot to honor the launch of USF’s novel mobile medical clinic. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/CHRISTINE LEAR

Around 75 eminent health care professionals and hopefuls from all branches of the USF Health community gathered at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Mo-Bull Nurse Medical Clinic.

The event was held at the USF College of Nursing on Friday morning, where members of the community celebrated the effort involved in launching USF Nursing’s latest innovation.

Mo-Bull will begin full operations in fall 2023 by pre-health students who undergo extensive clinical training courses prior to serving as health care liaisons aboard the traveling treatment center. 

The USF College of Nursing received a $3.85 million four-year federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to travel to communities in the greater Tampa Bay area selected due to their high social vulnerability index. These communities include South St. Pete, Wiumama, Tampa Port, Sulphur Springs and Tampa Heights. 

As of 2020, 28 million Americans were uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Due to the harmful effects of COVID-19, that number has risen to 31 million, according to Usha Menon, dean of the College of Nursing.

“There are minimal healthcare facilities…which means that these are communities that are medically either unserved or underserved. This may be the only health care that somebody receives,” Menon said. 

The USF College of Nursing will award six to 10 scholarships every semester for students participating in its clinical mission, according to Menon. 

“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to allow our students to get this kind of training, and maybe inspire some of them to continue their careers in that area, but support their education,” she said. 

A unique facet of the medical clinic is its interdisciplinary nature, as it integrates students from the College of Public Health, the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy and eventually the College of Medicine, according to Menon.

“When any of these students go out into the community into their professions, they’re going to be working together and making choices. But they haven’t talked to each other. Now, they’re learning to do it even more than at school… with real patients, in a real community,” Menon said.

Just prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony, USF community leaders shared inspiring words to the eager crowd of students and staff. Among those who spoke were Dean of USF Morsani College of Medicine Charles Lockwood, President Rhea Law and Menon.

Although the mobile unit currently consists of one bed and two providers, the university is looking to expand the unit’s facilities, according to Law.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Law drove the mobile clinic for the first time to commemorate its presence in the USF community. Attendees later entered the clinic and viewed its amenities. 

Ashley Ross, assistant director of Admissions of the USF College of Nursing, said the mobile clinic’s potential for expanding USF’s outreach is strong.

“It’s important, being part of such a huge university, that we are helping out our communities. We’re not just this big building in the middle of a metropolitan area. We’re actually with the community, serving the community, and I think that’s going to make it a really easy sell to come to USF,” Ross said.

Although the clinic will not be fully functional until fall 2023 at the earliest, Menon said she remains hopeful for preliminary community involvement this summer.

“This summer, there will be volunteer opportunities, because we’re going to be out at some of the schools doing sports physicals. I’d say keep your eye out for that,” Menon said. 

Menon expressed her passion and gratitude for the healthcare community that supported the clinic from the inklings of an idea to a promising four year federal grant.

“I think nursing is an absolutely amazing profession. I’ve been a nurse for 31 years this year. I have never wanted to be anything else. There are so many opportunities, but look at this. This van allows you to go into the community, and to actually do things,” she said.