NORMAN, OKLA. – Faculty and students in the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma partnered with the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes to develop a mobile medical unit to meet the needs of rural tribe members. The project is led by Bryan Bloom, an assistant professor in the Haskell and Irene Lemon Construction Science Division, and supported by assistant professor Ken Marold from the Division of Architecture.
The medical unit is composed of multiple pre-cut, prepared materials and designed to allow for “ease-of-construction” for those who may not have all the tools or experience for a traditional build. This design helps to decrease some of the barriers associated with construction for future builds.
Jesse E. Jones, executive director of the Wichita Housing Authority, said the mobile medical unit will enable Indian Health Services to take services to rural tribal members who have a difficult time getting to and from the health clinic.
“We have been very optimistic on the mobile clinic, as this is a new avenue to help out our tribal members and other Natives in the surrounding rural areas,” Jones said. “Many of our rural Native people don’t have the ability to travel distances to get to Indian Health Services, which is a hinderance to them and jeopardizes their health and longevity of living. If we can help those that need access to Indian Health Services in the rural areas, then we have performed a great improvement upon their lives and the family members that depend on them.”