FirstMed Health and Wellness Center partners with RTC and UNLV to launch public safety program to combat human trafficking

FirstMed to provide comprehensive, trauma-informed wrap-around services to victims

Las Vegas, Nev. — FirstMed Health and Wellness Center (FirstMed), a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) that provides comprehensive preventative, primary care medical services and mental health services for ages five and older to low income and under-served families in Southern Nevada, today announces it has officially entered into a partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). The partnership provides for the creation of a training program led by local law enforcement for bus drivers and transit ambassadors to better identify the signs of human trafficking, designate safe places for victims to receive assistance, and help victims reach a safe haven where they can receive services including emergency housing, medical and behavioral healthcare support, and victim advocacy.

According to Angela Quinn, CEO of FirstMed Health and Wellness Center, beginning in September the facility will provide comprehensive, trauma-informed, wrap-around services to help heal and stabilize victims, reducing the likelihood of repeat victimization under the program funded by a federal grant, the RTC and FirstMed.

“FirstMed Health and Wellness Center stands with the RTC, local law enforcement and the UNLV Criminal Justice Department as a committed and willing partner to provide critical treatment to victims of human trafficking identified through this initiative,” said Quinn. “Our robust staff of 30 licensed mental health professionals and therapists, which includes three psychiatrists, stands ready to provide comprehensive, trauma-informed, wrap-around services to victims. We are here.”

When a victim of human trafficking requests a “safe space” in a transit vehicle or facility, protocols will be followed to get them to FirstMed for services. Depending on the victim’s status, law enforcement may be contacted initially for de-escalation so the victim, general public and/or RTC team member are made safe. With the victim’s consent, they will be sent to FirstMed, either directly or via law enforcement.  A physical and psychological evaluation will occur, including a drug panel so the medical team knows if there are compounding issues such as substance abuse.

The RTC, UNLV and FirstMed will track the program’s progress and provide lessons learned reports for other transit agencies and community stakeholders seeking to advance similar initiatives.

About FirstMed Health and Wellness Center:    

Founded in 2009, FirstMed Health and Wellness Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), provides comprehensive preventative and primary health care services and mental health services to the low income and under-served families in Southern Nevada.  The organization currently has three clinics:  400 Shadow Lane, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, 89106;  3343 S. Eastern Avenue, Las Vegas, NV, 89169; and 3940 North Martin Luther King Blvd., Suite 105B, North Las Vegas, NV, 89032.   The staff is fluent in English, Spanish, Tagalog and Visayan. FirstMed Health and Wellness Center is a Health Center Program grantee under 43 U.S.C. 254b. For more information, visit FMHWC.ORG

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