In preparation for planning a workshop session at the 2016 Texas Health Literacy Conference, UT Health Science Center Librarian Peg Seger joined SAFD paramedic Christopher Velasquez (shown below) on a ride to learn more about the work he does as part of the Mobile Integrated Healthcare program (MIH). Chris is also a trainer for the San Antonio Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team and has been on the San Antonio Fire Department for over 20 years. He has been assigned to the EMS division for the last 13 years.
Shortly after the ride, at the Texas Health Literacy Conference on October 6th and 7th, Chris provided some stories from the field about how the innovative Mobile Integrated Healthcare program got its start in San Antonio and the impact that it is having in the community for both emergency services and healthcare for vulnerable populations. In addition to being a highly trained paramedic, Chris is also an instructor with the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Mobile Integrated Healthcare programs are a fairly recent development in U.S communities in comparison to other parts of the world. They tend to develop organically in response to local community needs. The San Antonio program has become a model for other interested communities around the country. Health literacy is central to the work of this program and the MIH paramedics have developed many practical real-world solutions to assisting vulnerable populations in navigating our complex healthcare system.