UH JABSOM Issues Statement on Vandalized RV That Provides Free Medical Care
The Houseless Outreach & Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project van, a mobile free clinic for Oahu’s houseless population, has been vandalized twice this year.
A project by the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), the van had its catalytic converter stolen in February.
In September, the van’s brake lights were smashed and its side and back were heavily tagged.
“We know that publicizing the destructive tagging and damage to the medical service van glorifies criminals, but it is also an opportunity to emphasize the value of its outreach by volunteer medical students and faculty, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said JABSOM in a statement.
The Hawaii H.O.M.E. Project provides its free services through weekly student-run free clinics across nine sites on Oahu.
“Our mobile van is critical for the functioning of our clinic and we can’t provide our usual services without it,” said Dr. Jill Omori, Executive Director of Hawaii Hawaii H.O.M.E. Project. “All of our operations are usually paid for via grants and grassroots fundraising, so unexpected expenses like these are extremely hard on us.”
Moreover, Omori said the vandalization of the van is “devastating” for JABSOM medical students as volunteering on the van missions is one of the requirements in the medical doctor program.