Wellness on Wheels Mobile Unit Helps to Reduce Infant Mortality in Franklin County
The OhioHealth Wellness on Wheels (WOW) program is one of OhioHealth's innovative ways to bring healthcare to populations that need it most. WOW was developed in 1993 as the Project to Reduce Infant Mortality. This program provides services to pregnant and postpartum women in communities that have been identified as having high infant mortality rates.
WOW parks at multiple Columbus City Schools, as well as an area homeless shelter, and sees both students and women living nearby. They’ve provided care for women ranging in age from 11 to 44. The clinical care comes right into the community via semi-truck – essentially, it’s a doctor’s office on wheels. It has exam rooms, consultation rooms, a restroom and a reception area. The team includes board certified OB/GYN physicians, a nurse practitioner, nurses, a social worker and a dietitian.
Since its inception, over 3,500 women and children have been WOW patients, making up over 15,000 appointments.
The overall goal is to provide comprehensive, high quality prenatal and postpartum care and women’s health services to vulnerable and at-risk women in central Ohio, regardless of their ability to pay. It’s all to help reduce infant mortality in central Ohio, which is the death of a baby before reaching his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate for WOW is 5.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births – a lower number than the nationwide rate.
In addition to services on the mobile unit, patients also now receive home visits. Two nurses do follow-up home visits to check on both mom and baby, answer questions and provide diapers and a crib, if needed.
Due to the success of the Wellness on Wheels program in lowering infant mortality in central Ohio, March of Dimes recently chose OhioHealth to receive a similar unit to serve women in northwestern Richland County and the surrounding areas.
For more information, about Wellness on Wheels, please contact OhioHealth Community Outreach at (614) 566-9989. To learn ways to support this community program, visit the OhioHealth Foundation.