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The Family Van

About the Van

Photo of Family Van Staff
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The Family Van is a mobile health program designed to increase access to health and improve healthy behaviors by providing free culturally and linguistically appropriate health services to our clients. Our mission is to educate, counsel, and assist community members in strengthening and protecting their bodies, minds, and communities.

We serve communities with disproportionately high rates of preventable diseases and hospitalization, and our convenient curbside care provides a bridge into the health and social services.

Family Van staff include health educators, a registered dietician, and counselors, who, in addition to health screenings, offer oral and written information to encourage clients to improve their health and follow healthy lifestyles. For many who visit the Van, the counseling, education, and basic screenings they receive are their only link to prevention and medical care. Education on risks, warning signs, nutrition, and self-care is vital to our clients, and we are often their sole provider of information. The Family Van offers a nonjudgmental, comfortable environment where all are welcome. Clients receive the support and resources they need to improve their health and well-being in an atmosphere of warmth and caring.

The Van is affiliated with Harvard Medical School and collaborates with a wide network of partners, volunteers, and supporters. Together, we know that providing health care access to those in need results in early intervention, better care, healthier clients, and stronger communities.

A pioneer in the growing trend of mobile health care, the Family Van has been serving Boston residents since 1992. In addition to provision of services, we demonstrate the value of mobile care through research and advocacy. The Family Van staff also provide medical and allied health students with firsthand, practical experience to train the next generation of health care providers.

The Family Van is on the road each week, making stops in seven regular locations. In 2010, we served 2,322 clients and 1,375 new clients. Nearly half were men. In addition:

  • 87% were minorities, and 37% did not speak English as their primary language.
  • Only 24% worked full time; 31% were unemployed, 22% were retired, 16% worked part-time, and 6% were on disability.
  • Clients included both uninsured (8%) and insured (66% public, 26% private) individuals.

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