June 7, 2022

Riverside clinic to address healthcare needs of the homeless

UniHealth Foundation grant to UC Riverside aims to increase the health and well-being of the unhoused population in Riverside County

Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
June 7, 2022

The School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, has received a grant of $600,000 from the UniHealth Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization based in Southern California, to reopen a clinic for the homeless population of Riverside County. The Hulen Place Clinic will offer primary care services to the county’s unhoused people and low-income communities. 

The UniHealth Foundation has a mission of supporting and facilitating activities that significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities within its service area. The foundation’s three-year grant to UC Riverside will support start-up costs, including renovation of the clinic space, and staffing.

The Hulen Place Clinic is located at 2880 Hulen Place, Riverside. (UCR School of Medicine/Cynthia Carolina)

Located next to a homeless shelter and a mental health supportive housing unit, the Hulen Place Clinic was once managed by the Health to Hope organization, which closed in May 2019. Now, in partnership with the City of Riverside and UniHealth Foundation, UCR Health will reopen the clinic to provide primary care and preventive services. Homeless individuals will be able to take advantage of walk-in and same-day appointments.

“A coordinated approach is necessary to address the complex needs of those experiencing homelessness,” said Donald Larsen, CEO of UCR Health, which is the clinical arm of the UCR School of Medicine. “The Hulen Place Clinic will offer much-needed medical care to this vulnerable population. The UniHealth Foundation grant is well aligned with the School of Medicine’s commitment to develop healthcare innovations aimed at improving the health of community members.” 

“We are excited about this partnership with UniHealth Foundation in our joint efforts to serve the unhoused population of Riverside and address community health needs,” said Edna Yohannes, the medical school’s executive director of development. “These efforts will help improve patient care outcomes and reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital readmissions. We look forward to seeing this partnership have an immediate impact in our region.”

The City of Riverside is home to approximately 20% of the County of Riverside’s homeless population. The clinic is expected to serve up to 4,800 patients annually, including 1,300 chronically homeless. Services will target underserved children and adults in need of preventive care as well as those with chronic health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and mental health disorders. The clinic will serve pediatric, adult, and geriatric populations.

The Hulen campus, which includes the clinic, is the only full-service homeless facility in western Riverside County that combines an emergency shelter, respite care, behavioral health services, bridge housing, and a medical clinic. The clinic, which has two exam rooms, will utilize the service of highly skilled primary care doctors and nurse practitioners who are experienced in providing care to the homeless in an efficient and expedient manner. The medical team will work with housing agencies to identify the housing needs of unsheltered homeless patients.

“We are pleased to partner with UCR in supporting the opening of the Hulen Place Clinic,” said Jennifer Vanore, president and chief operating officer at the UniHealth Foundation. “With this partnership we are deepening our commitment to support health organizations in inland Southern California for years to come.”

In addition to funding the Hulen Place Clinic, UniHealth Foundation supported the UCR School of Medicine from 2015 to 2021 with medical student scholarships of $50,000 each year.

The UCR School of Medicine’s Department of Social Medicine, Population, and Public Health will develop a model of population health for the Hulen Place Clinic and integrate social determinants of health into primary care services to mitigate socioeconomic factors that affect healthcare outcomes.

“Ultimately, we plan to have a federally qualified health center for the homeless,” Larsen said. “This will allow UCR Health and the medical school to set the foundation for a mission–aligned sustainable healthcare clinic in the City of Riverside.”

The Hulen Place Clinic, located at 2880 Hulen Place, Riverside, is expected to open in January 2023.

Header image credit: MattGush/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

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