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UCLA Magazine Fall 2003
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Fall 2003
City Of Angels
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The student-organized and student-run UCLA Mobile Clinic Project took root at Sycamore Avenue and Romaine Street — a semi-industrial block seven miles east of Westwood and about a mile-and-a-half southwest of the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame — three years ago this October. Established by a small group of medical and public-health students working in collaboration with the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, which has been serving free meals to the homeless at this corner nightly for more than 12 years, it has evolved to include a large component of undergraduates from the UCLA College. The undergrads — some of them premed students, some interested in social-service careers and others simply wanting to help — are critical not just to the clinic's day-to-day operation, but also to its long-term sustainability, organizers say.

"It has been this wonderful linear development and has gotten to a point that none of us could have envisioned at the beginning,” says Ted Landreth, a former CBS News executive-turned-documentary filmmaker and a founder of the food coalition.

"It is such an inspiring, such a wonderfully reinforcing thing to have them working shoulder-to-shoulder with us on this lonely street corner every week, these bright, young, absolutely dedicated, serious and effective students doing the people's business better than any public-health facility anywhere for miles around. They turn nobody away, they are welcoming, they are humane. The horror of so much public medicine is that it is none of those things.”

Its mission, as stated on the clinic's Web site, is straightforward: "To improve the health outcomes and quality of life for homeless and low-income individuals in the Hollywood and West Hollywood areas through direct medical and health-care services; health-promotion and disease-prevention activities; social support and case-management services; and referral to medical and social resources in the community.” A current goal is to expand aid to include more frequent dental and legal services.

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