RELEASE - GARCIA UNVEILS FIRST BAYLOR SMARTPOD IN THE UNITED STATES IN HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT 2
ACCESS2HEALTH BRINGS VITAL CARE FOR THOUSANDS IN UNDERSERVED AREAS
Partnership with Baylor College of Medicine brings much-needed services to health care deserts and communities in need
Harris County, TX — THURSDAY OCTOBER 1st, Commissioner Adrian Garcia, along with Baylor College of Medicine and United Health Partners (UHP) announced the arrival and installation of the first of two SmartPods, which are adaptable and mobile health care structures. Designed by Baylor College of Medicine with validation done with the help of NASA engineers, the SmartPods will be known as ACCESS2HEALTH at Precinct 2 Facilities.
Originally created to treat the Ebola outbreak in Africa, the SmartPods to be utilized in Precinct 2 are the first to be located inside the United States. Initially, ACCESS2HEALTH will be used for COVID-19 testing to be performed by United Health Partners, however, in the future, they will be available to treat infectious diseases and other illnesses.
The first SmartPod will be stationed at Northeast Community Center (10918 Bentley St., Houston, TX 77093) in Aldine. The second of the two SmartPod ACCESS2HEALTH units is expected to be stationed at East Harris Activity Center (7340 Spencer Hwy, Pasadena, TX 77505) and should arrive sometime in the Fall. The mobile clinics are an innovative answer to dealing with health care deserts in Harris County Precinct 2.
A similar SmartPod that is currently on loan from Baylor will be moved to Flukinger Community Center in Channelview (6003 Lorenzo St, Channelview, TX 77530). Precinct 2 will work with Baylor and UHP on programming and services that will best serve the region.
“As County Commissioner of Precinct 2, I am clearly aware that much of my area is classified as being medically underserved, which is why I am so excited to finally have the first of these two SmartPod ACCESS2HEALTH units in place. I’ve heard from far too many of my constituents that they can’t afford to go to the doctor. For some, even if they have insurance, there is not a facility in their area to get help,” Commissioner Garcia said, “from day one in my administration, I’ve prioritized health care access for Precinct 2 residents, and the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates why this is so vital.”
“Baylor has been a longtime collaborator with Harris County to address the health and welfare of our community, and this continues with the Mobile Healthcare Clinic in Precinct 2,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor College of Medicine. “This is an important tool to be used in the care and treatment of COVID.”
“We are so thrilled to see Precinct 2 lead the way on using our innovative SmartPod in Harris County,” said Dr. Sharmila Anandasabapathy, director of Baylor Global Health and professor at Baylor College of Medicine. “Our hope is that this unique, portable COVID unit will be a great resource for the local community and an effective solution for future emergencies, both hurricanes and epidemics.”
“UHPhealth’s slogan is ‘Healthy living is what we give’. We believe that health or healthcare service is not a benefit, it is a basic human right that all people deserve. Therefore, we do not reinvent the wheel, we close in the health services gaps,” said UHP Executive Director Dr. Bernice Koko, “we are proud to be working with Precinct 2 to bring accessible health care where it’s needed most.”
To set up an appointment to get free Covid-19 testing, visit covid.uhphealth.org or call (346) 280-4133 (phone line is only operational Monday through Saturday, 8 AM - 3 PM)