Burdine says the homeless program offers robust services in medicine, dental, mental health, substance use disorder and vision. Staff is committed to easily connect patients to “multiple services where we're able to address both their healthcare and social needs. That's our mission, and I guess that's why we're special," she adds.
In 2021, Harris Health's homeless program provided care to about 5,000 unique patients:
Harris Health's program is also helping patients manage their chronic diseases of hypertension, cardiovascular and diabetes. Additionally, the program offers preventive health screenings for cervical, breast and colorectal cancers, as well as, depression, HIV and obesity, and ways to quit smoking.
“To serve the homeless community and work in this department is a wonderful experience. It's not just a job, it has to be your mission," Burdine says. “That said, my goal in life is to actually work myself out of a job. I likely won't see it in my lifetime, but I hope homelessness is eliminated forever."
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awards are part of the agency's Community Health Quality Recognition program to highlight notable quality improvements in areas of access, quality, health equity, health information technology and COVID-19 public health emergency response. According to HRSA, 11% of programs receive Health Center Quality Leader; 11% receive COVID-19 Public Health Champion; 54% receive Advancing HIT for Quality; and 79% receive Patient Centered Medical Home.