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Care Harbor To Provide Free Medical Services To Uninsured, Underinsured And More

A woman in a green shirt talking to a health care worker. They are both wearing masks and he is wearing blue medical gloves.
Child care site supervisor Edwina Shivers was administered the Pfizer vaccine by David Nguyen at a pop-up vaccination clinic at Macedonia Baptist Church in South L.A.
(Stefanie Ritoper
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A team of more than 300 doctors, dentists, nurses and other medical professionals will provide free health care services to the uninsured, underinsured, unhoused and other at-risk folks Friday through the weekend in downtown L.A. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Care Harbor health clinic — at the Reef Event Center — will provide free COVID-19 vaccines and include Spanish language interpretation.

The pandemic canceled the annual three-day mobile clinic two years in a row. That was a big problem for a woman named Nikki, who didn't want her last name used. She said she's usually too scared to visit the dentist's office and has relied on Care Harbor for dental and vision care.

"I didn't feel pressure like I do with some dental offices that you have a laundry list of things that you must do, and it just doesn't seem within reach," Nikki said. "And here, there isn't that. It seems like they care — they want to take care of you."

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Julio Saucedo has also felt the sting from the two-year mobile clinic absence, but he's ready to receive long-overdue care.

"I lost my parents during COVID," Saucedo said. "So like, it's just been rough kind of to get the assistance, talk to someone about it and clear my mind."

Medell Briggs-Malonson is the chief of health equity, diversion and inclusion at UCLA Health, which is providing more than 200 medical volunteers. She says organizers are expecting to treat more than 600 people each day.

She says one goal is to establish lasting partnerships with the people who walk through the doors.

"This isn't a one-time thing," Briggs-Malonson said. "This is about us connecting them to all the additional health services that they need, and the social services that they need, in order to have the greatest level of both health and overall wellness."

UCLA plans to unveil a new program offering free health care to L.A.'s unhoused population, using a fleet of specially-equipped vans.

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Emily Elena Dugdale covers smaller police departments around Southern California, school safety officers, jails and prisons, and juvenile justice issues. She also covers the LAPD and the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.