TTUHSC providing health care services to occupants at Open Door

Published: Oct. 20, 2023 at 8:02 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - People experiencing homelessness in Lubbock now have better access to health care.

The local non-profit Open Door is partnering with physicians and students at Texas Tech’s Health Sciences Center to provide those services free of charge.

Dr. Felix Morales says the partnership allows TTUHSC to provide primary care services to those staying at the shelter.

“We do wellness checks; checks on blood pressure screening,” Dr. Morales said. “We are able to check for diabetes and monitor diabetes as well, and simple prescriptions for any sort of antibiotics that may come through as well.”

The initiative was started by a third-year medical student looking for ways to get more involved in the community.

“Every Friday morning, we show up and we have a student who’s a coordinator that will go find out if there’s patients who need to be seen here,” Morales said. “And basically, start lining them up at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Open Door CEO Chad Wheeler says the clinic has grown to benefit patients and the students get something out of it, too.

“Since then, it’s developed to the point where now it’s an elective with the school of medicine,” Wheeler said.

Those students providing a resource that may not be available otherwise.

“They have often very little access to primary care,” Wheeler said. “There are sometimes bad experiences that keep them away and different things that prevent them from accessing some of those services available.”

Wheeler says the consistency of the clinic has since earned the trust of those staying at Open Door.

“They became familiar, they started to build trust,” Wheeler said. “Now those same people that were hesitant at the beginning are now seeking them out and coming by each week to make sure that they’re getting checked out.”