Director Steven Soderbergh donates two COVID-19 mobile health vehicles to Detroit from the Detroit Free Press

December 22, 2020

The fight to curb the pandemic in the metro Detroit area just got a major boost from Steven Soderbergh.

Two new mobile health units donated by the Oscar-winning director are up and running as part of Wayne Health and Wayne State University’s COVID-19 mobile testing program.

The vehicles, developed and customized by Ford Motor Co., made their debut at separate testing events last week. One was at an event in Warren, while the other traveled to Detroit’s Oak Grove AME Church.

Soderbergh’s gift has helped expand to five vehicles the fleet that provides free coronavirus testing and other vital health-care services to local residents.

The mobile units also are outfitted with cold-temperature storage that will allow them to pivot to administering vaccines once the national rollout reaches the general public.

Soderbergh’s donation is an expression of gratitude to both Detroit and Wayne Health, which provided testing to the cast and crew of the movie he shot in Detroit this fall.

A crime drama set in 1950s Detroit, the film is titled “No Sudden Move” and stars Don Cheadle, Jon Hamm, Benicio del Toro and a bevy of other top actors.

“It seems honestly like a really good way to contribute to the community, so that we weren’t just coming here and sort of extracting something without giving anything in return,” Soderbergh told the Free Press in November.

Soderbergh gave Wayne Health high marks for helping keep the “No Sudden Move” team safe. According to the director, only one person tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 during filming and it was someone who worked off-set.

“The way all of the COVID aspects of the production were handled by Wayne State, it was really smooth. … I was very aware that it was essentially a production within the production, just dealing with that. But it couldn’t have gone any better,” said Soderbergh.

The mobile testing approach made sense for a film project, because it could move from location to location to accommodate tight schedules.

But as a public health strategy, the mobile testing program has contributed to decreasing the systemic health disparities in communities of color that were exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wayne Health, a 300-doctor group practice with multiple specialties, teamed up with Wayne State University and Ford to form and launch the free mobile testing effort in April.

Since then, the vehicles have been to more than 200 locations and tested nearly 30,000  people.

When the state of Michigan released its Racial Disparities Task Force Interim Report in early December, it revealed plans to expand mobile testing efforts to other locales using the Wayne Health and Wayne State model.

Dr. Phillip Levy, who leads the mobile testing program for Wayne Health and Wayne State, served as the health safety supervisor on the set of “No Sudden Move.”

Levy, who’s also Wayne Health’s chief innovation officer, told the Free Press in October that the mobile testing approach is a good strategy not just for providing coronavirus testing, but also screenings for high blood pressure, HIV and diabetes and an overall assessment of health and social service needs.

“We don’t need more papers to say it’s hard to be impoverished and a minority in this country. We know the health outcomes are worse. We need solutions,” he said.

Along with coronavirus testing, the Wayne Health and Wayne State mobile testing events can offer flu shots, blood pressure screening and HIV testing to those who participate, plus referrals for benefits like Medicaid, unemployment assistance, emergency food and shelter services.

Continue reading “Director Steven Soderbergh donates two COVID-19 mobile health vehicles to Detroit” from the Detroit Free Press.

Learn more about the Wayne Health Mobile Unit.

Director Steven Soderbergh donates two COVID-19 mobile health vehicles to Detroit from the Detroit Free Press
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