More than 150,000 Utahns have diabetes, costing the state over one billion dollars each year. The risk for developing type 2 diabetes is significantly higher among members of minority racial or ethnic groups. The Wellness Bus is a mobile health unit that aims to reduce the burden of type 2 diabetes in Utah’s underserved communities. The program represents a unique partnership between researchers, community health workers, student volunteers, and community health partners.

Objective: To describe the characteristics and needs—both medical and social—of community members being served by the Wellness Bus in its first 6 months of implementation, and to discuss how the mobile health unit and its partners are addressing these critical gaps in access to care.

Methods: Participants included 501 individuals who visited the Wellness Bus’s weekly neighborhood sites between June and December of 2018. Participants were ages 18 to 88 years (Mean age = 46.8), 50% Female; 28% white; and 67% Hispanic/Latino. Descriptive data from routinely-collected assessments during Wellness Bus visits at the weekly sites including participant self-report surveys, biometric screenings, and social service referrals were analyzed with R statistical software.

Results: Of all individuals, 57% reported Spanish as their primary language, 67% were uninsured, and 61% did not have a primary care provider; 23% had been previously diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. More than half of high-risk individuals had HbA1c levels > 5.7. Mean BMI = 29.8, with 82% overweight or obese; more than half screened with elevated blood pressure. Service referrals were made for 160 individuals, most to community medical/dental services. In regard to the social risk assessment, 35% reported experiencing food insecurity. Through the first 6 months of the Wellness Bus program, we have gained an understanding of our communities’ needs and are addressing these gaps. We are developing strategies to increase the number of follow-up visits.


R.L. Marcus: None. B.L. Bannon: None. R.K. Delaney: None. A. Fagerlin: None.

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