Note: This is a guest blog from York College of Pennsylvania student Jordan Elford. The 21-year-old senior and her classmates researched the poverty and uninsured populations of York County, Pennsylvania, and Wise County, Virginia. The class is assisting the Health Wagon for a class project, a mobile healthcare unit based in Wise County. They were curious how that county's stats stacked up against the county they reside in for most of the year at school. 


Did you know there are some areas in Pennsylvania with a poverty rate reaching almost 40 percent?  Close to 20 percent of those people also have no health insurance…

So what does this mean?

Folks are not taking care of themselves because they cannot afford to see a doctor regularly.

Be a part of the change that this area needs to see.

In 1980, a free mobile health service was created in southwest Virginia for those without insurance, who did not see a doctor regularly and who could not afford any sort of medical attention.

The Health Wagon was founded to help a similar issue that we face right here in Central Pennsylvania. This nonprofit organization provides free health services to 11 sites in Virginia serving those who either do not have any type of health insurance or those whose deductibles may be too high.

The Health Wagon treats patients for a variety of medical needs, including eye and dental services and offers quality health care to their patients completely free of charge. They rely only on volunteers, grants and donations to fund their services.

How does this organization help us in Central Pennsylvania?

With similar issues this gives us a perfect model and inspiration to create a free health service for those suffering from poverty in our area.

How do we compare to Wise County?

2010-2014 American Community Survey, United States Census Bureau


Percentage of All People Below the Poverty Level

(Past 12 Months)

Percentage of Population 16 Years and Over Not in Labor Force

Percentage of Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population with No Health Insurance Coverage

Percentage of Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population with Public Health Insurance Coverage

York, PA





Harrisburg, PA





Lancaster, PA





Philadelphia City, PA





Wise County, VA





What can we do about this?

York College Public Relations classes have created a relationship with the founders of The Health Wagon and want to start an initiative to bring similar services to Central Pennsylvania.  The students of the Public Relations Campaigns class have conducted research on the demographics, common diseases people suffer from, how to reach people, whom to reach and we are ready to start this initiative with your help.  We ask the people of the community to help out the neighbors who are struggling on a daily basis.

Have ideas or want to get involved?

Contact Jordan Elford for more information at

 Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at or on Twitter at @YDKatherine

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