Who We Are

Rural and other underserved populations suffer from increased risks of poor physical and behavioral health. A critical shortage of primary care and mental health providers including Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) in rural and underserved areas makes the problem even more urgent.

Our Approach

ODU Community Care solves the challenges faced by rural and other underserved populations holistically, by:
  1. provide education and experiential training for the nursing workforce (students, faculty, and community providers/preceptors) that prepares them to provide healthcare to patients in rural, MUA, and HPSA designated areas
  2. provide longitudinal clinical rotations through a nurse-led mobile health clinic (MHC) to encourage better understanding of chronic illness and patient/provider relationships
  3. increase the diversity of the nursing workforce by focusing on culturally sensitive care, healthcare disparities/inequity, SDOH, inter- and intra-professional collaboration (IPC), and healthcare technology/telehealth (TH)
The goal is for students, faculty, and community providers/preceptors to engage in critical thinking and clinical practice as they meet the needs of veterans, homeless individuals, the elderly, maternal/child patients, and those with mental health (MH) concerns living in rural MUA and HSPA designated Southampton County, Virginia.

Goals and Objectives

Our goals are to provide high level care to underserved communities while expanding the nursing workforce. We’re doing so in several ways:
  • by creating experiential learning opportunities, advanced nursing skills, and care delivery,
  • by developing leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills, and foster a community-based learning environment that implements best practices in rural and medically underserved communities.
  • by increasing the diversity of the nursing workforce and supporting diverse populations, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities.
We’re achieving these goals through mobile health clinics with several key features:
  • an embedded Telehealth system provides care to rural and underserved populations in Southampton County in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters and Southampton Memorial Hospital
  • training of APRN students and community providers to manage patients, including veterans, impacted by poor SDOH, heath inequity/disparities, and those with limited access
  • participation of Nursing Scholars Program students in longitudinal rotations with an inter-professional team
Man with Family

The Community

Southside Virginia’s population disproportionately experience health disparities and are at risk for social vulnerability, poor socioeconomic status, disability, minority status, and limited housing and transportation. In comparison to Virginia as a whole, Southside has a higher proportion of people without health insurance (15.8%), receiving Medicaid (18.8%), living in mobile homes (20%), being unemployed (8.7%), and below the poverty line (26%), with 33% being children. The average distance traveled for work is 31 miles, but public transportation is essentially nonexistent.

The region has a high proportion of veterans (16.4%), elderly (25.1%), and homeless. The most common health concerns are obesity (up to 45% prevalence) along with diabetes and heart disease (Southside ranks 1 and 2 among regions in the state), mental health (30%), and oral health (up to 90% of the population).

This project addresses these issues by:
  • developing a Mobile Health Clinic that travels and brings care where those in need are located, and provide tents and equipment for dental hygiene students to use for screening patients.
  • include culturally appropriate and educational materials, provide training to patients in need of Remote Patient Monitoring, provide assistance to patients to enroll in Medicaid and other services available to them, and utilize Telehealth with the patients, when possible, to decrease the need to travel.
  • prepare students to address the needs of vulnerable populations, emphasizing culturally competent care, SDOH, TH, communication, health disparities, and collaborative care.
  • provide Community Nurse Scholars with community-based clinical rotations at the mobile sites with in-person cohorts and links to those at a distance through telehealth.
  • implement a recruiting and retention plan to attract APRN students and faculty from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds.
  • ODU Community Care Bus

    Establishing the Clinics

    Established in 2022 to help address healthcare issues that impact underserved populations in the Hampton Roads area, ODU Community Care is a nurse-led, cross-disciplinary program where faculty, students in all disciplines, and community professionals engage in clinical practice to meet the needs of vulnerable community members, including homeless individuals, the elderly, veterans, woman, children, and those with mental health concerns. Currently operating out of donated space in the People in Need (PiN) Ministry facility located in Virginia Beach as well as a new mobile clinic, the program uses telehealth, pop-up clinics, and mobile services to provide comprehensive patient care.