Recent nutrition alumnus Mr. Kevin Travia has seen the barriers in health care, both as a patient and provider, and it has driven him to carve out his own niche in the search for solutions.
A congenital condition discovered when he was 10 years old saw Mr. Travia in and out of medical offices for treatment, but his father’s eventual job loss meant his family no longer had the security of medical insurance. For a time, he had to be careful about participating in activities that other kids his age did every day due to the risk of an accident.
The experience left him with empathy for those affected by health care inequities, especially in his small-town North Carolina community. In the rural counties of the state, one of the largest barriers to care has been limited access to physicians and other providers.
“When you think about these big problems that we keep seeing, like the number of people who go to the emergency department because they can’t access primary care physicians – these problems can’t be solved easily with one person,” he said. “It takes a team to do it.”
Mr. Travia wanted to be a part of that team. That desire led him to the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, where he studied nutrition with the long-term goal of becoming a physician. Memories of his grandmother sparked an idea for a health accessibility solution that he would soon turn into a budding nonprofit venture called Railcare Health.
Railcare Health began as one shuttle bus that Mr. Travia purchased at an online auction. He repurposed the bus for use as a mobile medical space. With the goal of bringing care to communities in need, he recruited volunteer physicians and medical students to put into practice the skills and principles of health care they’d learned in the classroom.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on November 22