UCLA’s School of Nursing Combats TB on Skid Row

UCLA’s School of Nursing has partnered with the Union Rescue Mission to provide tuberculosis testing for those on Skid Row. The UCLA Newsroom gives us an inside look at the clinic within the Union Rescue Mission and the work they are doing to combat a recent outbreak of TB in the area.

“The first shoot we had scheduled was in Gladys Park a few blocks away from the clinic. They do an outreach when the park opens up and they offer testing,” said Sebastian Hernandez, Manager of the Broadcast Studio, who was involved in the filming of this documentary.

UCLA Today reports, “Public health officials have identified 78 TB cases that have occurred on skid row in 2007-2012. Of those cases, 60 people were homeless. And of those 60, 11 died of TB. All of these cases could have been treated with medication, the county reported.”

The School of Nursing offers testing to all who are willing, whether or not they are staying at the mission.

“It’s a different reality down there [in Gladys Park]. It’s a shady part of town, but you recognize that they are just people trying to cope. It was different inside the mission. People are more at ease. It feels like a safer place for the people living there.”

Hernandez says that the rescue mission seems like it can be a launching pad to get people off the streets and presents them with many different health care services.

“It’s valuable to recognize that there are a bunch of different steps involved in addressing homelessness and all the issues surrounding it. They seem to do a good job of giving the residents the comprehensive care that they need,” says Hernandez. “We need to be aware that a process is necessary and no ‘one free lunch program’ is going to solve the issue. People can mention how homelessness is sad but I hope that seeing this can inspire people to really get beyond guilt and actively support broad policies that address homelessness.”

Watch “UCLA Faces TB Outbreak on Skid Row in LA” to get a glimpse of what life is like inside the Union Rescue Mission.

See what other programs on infectious diseases are available on UCTV Prime.

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