The Foundation has supported several initiatives over the years to increase access for individuals who experience barriers to health care including lack of insurance, housing instability and language barriers. One such program currently supported by a Foundation grant is the Madison Area Care for the Homeless OneHealth (MACH1).
MACH1’s vision is that individuals experiencing housing insecurity will have equitable housing and health care. Pamela Alsum, MD, a clinical assistant professor with University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Internal Medicine Department has participated in the planning and execution of many of the MACH1 projects and feels strongly that the vison of the organization reflects the values of the greater medical community.
MACH1 began operations in downtown Madison in 2015 with a Community Needs Assessment which led to the development of the Street Medicine Team, the Foot Care Clinic and Care Connections. Since March 2018 and with the help of a grant from the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation, the Street Medicine Team has performed weekly rounds to provide a controlled scope of direct clinical services for people experiencing homelessness, improve trust in health care providers and systems and enhance health literacy. The Foot Care Clinic holds foot care spas on Saturdays at the Beacon, a local day shelter, where they see 40 clients during a half-day session. Care Connections includes “on-call” case management and coordination of appointments, pharmacy and transportation. Hospital to street “home” transition has been identified as an additional area of need.
MACH1’s hope is to continue the current rounds route with increased frequency and extend services to other neighborhoods and/or remote rough sleeping sites, while also building their infrastructure.
In addition to helping meet the health care needs of homeless individuals, the Foundation is working to make sure that our community members without health insurance have access to specialty care through a fund established to support the Benevolent Specialists Project (BSP) Free Clinic in Middleton. Primary free and charitable clinics from throughout South Central Wisconsin refer patients to the volunteer physicians and nurses at BSP Free Clinic for specialty care. Because the clinic relies on donations for operating costs, the Foundation has established a fund to reduce reliance on annual gifts and ensure that the BSP Free Clinic remains a resource for community members in need.
If you would like to learn more about MACH1, the BSP Free Clinic, or free and charitable clinics in your community, or if you would like support their important work, please email Elizabeth Ringle or call her at 608.442.3789.
To learn more about other projects supported by the Foundation’s grant program, or for grant application materials, click here. The next grant application deadline is September 27, 2019.