St. Anna’s Medical Mission
“I don’t have insurance. I didn’t know where else to go to see a doctor.” - 2013
St. Anna’s Medical Mission (SAMM) is a medical outreach program that rotates through neighborhoods in and around New Orleans utilizing a 38-foot mobile unit providing health screening, health care services, health education, and referrals.
“My blood pressure was so high that I could have had a stroke. I felt like if I went to the hospital they would have just given me pills and sent me on my way.” -2011
SAMM was founded with the goal of being responsive to the evolving needs of New Orleanians and an important link to rebuilding access to quality healthcare for all people. Initially we sought to provide access to healthcare after the devastating blow of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, including the closure of the Charity Healthcare System used by the uninsured and under-insured. Now, although there are more safety-net clinics available for this population of people, many are unfamiliar with them despite publicity. Also, due to legal concerns, thousands of immigrant workers do not visit traditional healthcare providers.
“Thank you for not treating me as an outsider.” – 2012
Health education and health literacy is low among the under-served populations in this area and there is a level of historic mistrust of the medical community. By taking health services to people in their own communities we reach a population otherwise without access to healthcare. By consistently being available, providing services with respect and dignity, we earn trust, can educate and empower our clients to become more active in their own healthcare and provide referral services to many new community based clinics and services.
Our clients represent a picture of deep economic, cultural and racial diversity, and include a high number of people who are working class, low-income, self-employed, uninsured, or otherwise have unmet medical needs.