Significant disparities in healthcare services in the USA result in unnecessary limb loss, stroke, and death. Vascular health professionals are developing new programmes to address these inequities through the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Foundation.
The SVS Foundation Volunteers In Service To All (VISTA) programme will provide outreach, screening, and other resources to those who are impacted by lack of access, inadequate resources, and/or distance from modern healthcare facilities. Many SVS members have expressed an interest in addressing disparities in care. Building on the Foundation’s successful grant programmes for community awareness and prevention, VISTA will provide opportunities for members to make a direct impact.
This programme focuses on bringing vascular care to areas of need—particularly underserved populations, for example, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and others who lack access due to low socioeconomic status. VISTA is being implemented in phases, with the first phase focusing on awareness, education, and prevention through pilot projects.
The first pilot project has been approved and builds on a previous community awareness and prevention programme grant project in Oklahoma, USA. Working directly with the large Native American population there, the emphasis will be on peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Podiatrists, wound care specialists, nurses, and others are included in the project.
The SVS Foundation anticipates the development of additional pilot projects in phase one. Future phases are aimed towards providing wound care and the full spectrum of vascular care, with the intent of engaging vascular surgeons to work alongside other health professionals to highlight factors that contribute to PAD.
How can you ‘Lend a Hand, Save a Leg’ now?
- Respond to the upcoming call for volunteers to staff a VISTA Steering Committee subcommittee. For information about the committees and how to apply, please contact the Foundation at SVSFoundation@vascularsociety.org. The SVS asks that the volunteers also support the Foundation through a donation (of any amount) to the SVS Foundation. “Earmark your gift for awareness and prevention to make an immediate impact,” it says.
• Respond to future Foundation calls for support and participation in addressing disparities in vascular care in underserved areas.