Access to health care is a major problem for Pima County residents living at or below the poverty line.

Since 1976, the Mobile Health Program, part of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the UA's College of Medicine, brings medical care to those who are unable to afford and access it.

The clinic is a fully-equipped mobile, medical vehicle with examination rooms, laboratory services, and access to special medical tests.

The medical unit travels to remote areas with little or no access to medical facilities or health care.

Inside, there is a EKG machine to examine a patient's hearth rhythms, lab equipment, and tests for pregnancy, lipid profiles, cholesterol and glucose levels, among others.

The program's mission, as it reads on their web site, is “to empower underserved communities by developing sustainable systems that increase access to health promotion, disease prevention and health care services.”

They service about 2,400 people in southern Arizona each year. No one is ever turned away, according to co-founder Martha Ortiz, regardless if they are able to pay, make a donation or not.

Services include basic wellness and preventive care for people with acute and chronic conditions. Diabetes education is also available.

Approximately 225 uninsured women have received prenatal care since 2003, the web site said.

Ortiz said the program is currently funded by all kinds of donors. Although, the main source of income is through the Ortiz Endowment, established by Dr. Andy Nichols.

Ashley Grove is a journalism student and an intern for Arizona Public Media

This story is part of Arizona Public Media's week-long series on poverty.