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The Health Bus: Healthcare for Marginalized Populations
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The Health Bus, an innovative outreach program, serves the marginalized population of a large Canadian city. In this article, a needs assessment/evaluation study of its services is discussed. Barriers to mainstream healthcare and solutions are examined. This study was qualitative, descriptive, and exploratory and surveyed 58 client volunteers of the program through semistructured interviews and focus groups. Thematic analysis of data was carried out. The Health Bus was found to provide basic healthcare and supplies effectively. Clients value respectful treatment, competency of healthcare professionals, and accessibility, whereas disrespectful treatments and lack of transportation are barriers to mainstream healthcare. A conclusion of this study is that Health Bus services should be expanded with clients’ input. Mainstream institutions need flexibility and a change in attitudes toward the marginalized. (Author)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services