Operated by students and nurse practitioners, the Mo-Bull medical clinic has served 225 patients in financially vulnerable communities in the Tampa Bay region, according to Usha Menon, dean of the USF College of Nursing.
USF’s mobile unit has been up and running for this past semester after it was unveiled by the College of Nursing in March.
As a primary care clinic, Mo-Bull’s services include physicals, treating common acute and chronic health issues as well as blood, glucose and pregnancy tests.
Mo-Bull was originally intended to treat underserved populations in Sulphur Springs, south St. Pete, Tampa Heights, Port of Tampa and Wiumama. However, the clinic has also started working with aid organizations such as Riverside Recovery, Lutheran Family Services and Tampa Hope in September due to the high demand for medical services.
The $3.85 million grant for the fully functioning mobile clinic was awarded to USF and the College of Nursing by the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) in 2022 to travel to communities in the greater Tampa Bay area selected due to their high social vulnerability index.
The federal grant will be delivered in installments over four years, according to Menon.
Although the clinic was supposed to have only one bed and two providers per unit, a surplus in donations from a partnership with North Carolina-based Mission Medical Mobile allowed for more extensive facilities than planned, according to Menon. Now, each unit has two full examination rooms, a restroom and space for vaccination supplies.
Despite these expansions, Mo-Bull will be facing budget cuts in 2024. HRSA has decreased next year’s funding stipulated by the four-year plan by 4%, according to Menon. This deduction will result in a $38,500 decrease in allocated federal funds for year two.
Mo-Bull gives nursing students, as well as public health and pharmacy students, an opportunity to gain clinical experience, according to Menon. While the clinic is run by two advanced-practice nurses, nursing students can complete their lab requirements with the guidance of the clinical faculty.
Mo-Bull has received inquiries for expansion into counties other than Hillsborough and Pinellas, which are the only counties Mo-Bull is operational in, according to Menon.
Once Mo-Bull receives approval from the state to open a clinic at Port Tampa Bay, the College of Nursing plans to deploy Mo-Bull in the Seafarers’ Center, a nonprofit Christian organization with the Tampa Port Ministries.
Although there are no concrete plans for future Mo-Bull clinics, Menon said she remains hopeful to increase nursing students’ knowledge through the creation of more Mo-Bull units.
“That would be the dream,” Menon said. “We love that the Mo-Bull clinic allows our faculty a chance to practice in the community and our students to better understand how to serve the Tampa Bay community.”