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Dying for a breath

A sad case today. This mother of three has had trouble breathing for years.  We were able to set her up for a CT that indicates a rare and progressive lung disease.  She’ll need further tests that are quite invasive at a hospital.  Our medical and mental health staff tried hard to help her find childcare so she could have these procedures.  But she feels the kids can’t cope with more stress and disruption.  So she’s not going for the tests.

Fixing a broken heart

We have cared for her kids for several years, and then the mom mentioned that she had chest pains. She had a heart murmur that had never been evaluated.  Using homeless services in Dallas, and with our support to wrap around care, she had open heart surgery at Parkland.  She and the kids are doing well.

Running for her life

We listened to her story, amazed as always to hear what people have endured.  At the shelter here she has found refuge, emotional support and medical care that she and her young son need.  For years she was abused, in every way, by her husband. Immigrants here, she had nowhere to turn. One time he hit her so hard she lost her vision for several minutes.  So she ran.  She feared for her life, and for her son’s future. Now at least she is safe. 


There is always a waiting line when the Dallas mobile medical clinic, known locally as the Homeless Outreach Medical Services program (HOMES), arrives to provide much-needed services to the most medically underserved population in Dallas County.  As part of Parkland Medical Center’s community outreach efforts, four mobile medical and one mobile dental clinic are on the road providing a medical home to the community’s neediest each week.


In Dallas County, the face of homelessness has changed.  Shelters are no longer only filled with single adults who have lived on the streets for years looking for a warm bed at night.  Today, there are more women and children in Dallas shelters than ever before…some after losing jobs and homes, others dealing with personal crises.

“The failing economy has had a huge impact on local families. It doesn’t take much to move a person already living in poverty into homelessness,” says Dr. Susan Spalding, medical director for the project.  “As the shelters fill, we are there to address and serve the different needs of all of the residents.  We can also connect them to specialty services when needed.”


Children and families in Dallas often lack insurance and transportation, which are often complicated by language and cultural barriers.  Mental health and dental services are particularly difficult for Spanish speakers to access.  Children and adolescents often face developmental delay or school failure; poor reading levels; family dysfunction such as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, nutritional problems such as anemia and obesity; and minor acute illnesses.

Preventive medicine is at the core of the services that the project offers.  By providing comprehensive primary care, the medical team works to prevent and manage more acute conditions from developing and minimizing unnecessary and costly trips to the Emergency Room for care.

Home Institution/Affiliation 
Parkland Health & Hospital System, Dallas, TX
Available services 
  • Comprehensive primary care, including physical examinations;
  • Management of acute and chronic illnesses;
  • Family planning services, including STD screening and treatment;
  • Nutrition assessment and counseling;
  • Health education;
  • Mental health services and case management;
  • Substance abuse counseling; and
  • Referral management, subspeciality referrals, and social service referrals.
Special initiatives 
Program Fact sheet