North Star Health invites the public to the dedication of its new mobile health unit, named after beloved local physician and steadfast healthcare advocate, Dr. Delores Barbeau, who passed away in 2021. The dedication and ribbon-cutting will take place in Londonderry VT on Saturday, October 29, 2022, where the new unit will be parked out front of Neighborhood Connections, a community-based health and human services nonprofit founded by Dr. Barbeau and Gloria Dawson in 2009. Tours of the mobile unit will run from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, as will a flu vaccine clinic to be held inside Neighborhood Connections. There will also be professional staff on hand to answer questions about Medicare, Medicaid and other health benefits and health-related financial assistance programs. The mobile unit dedication and ribbon-cutting will take place at 10:30 am, with fall-themed refreshments available throughout the day.

Dr. Delores Barbeau, or “Dolor” to the people and communities who loved her, devoted her life to helping others. Born in Massachusetts and raised in upstate New York, she received her medical degree in Bolivia and spent the next 25 years of her medical practice there providing care to people in Bolivia and Nicaragua. Returning to New England for further medical studies Dr. Barbeau made her way to Vermont, calling it home for the last decades of her life. Here, she treated  and advocated on behalf of the vulnerable at the Rutland Free Clinic, and later at North Star Health’s Mountain Valley and Springfield Health Centers.

Dr. Barbeau was committed to reducing barriers to medical and dental care, remaining till the end of her life a passionate and outspoken advocate for community-based health care that met people where they were at. Famous for her “parking-lot consults” and home visits, a mobile health unit was a long-held dream of hers and she was delighted to learn, before her passing, that the mobile unit on order for North Star Health would pay tribute to her legacy by bearing her name.

In keeping with Dr. Barbeau’s vision and North Star Health’s commitment to improving health equity and providing care to the underserved, the mobile unit will be deployed to reach those for whom travel to existing clinics is a barrier, to deliver a range of services including vaccinations, screenings and primary care.

Development and assembly of the unit, which has a fully-functioning, state-of-the-art exam and treatment table and medical equipment, was funded through a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), with support for initial program development and staffing coming from the Vermont Department of Health. North Star is currently recruiting for its Mobile Services Team, including a Community Health Worker, driver and panel manager.