The Clyburn Community Health Express is hitting the road today.

Rural Health Services’ new mobile medical/dental unit is headed for New Ellenton’s Greendale Elementary School, where it will be based for the rest of the week.

The specialty vehicle is 45 feet long, and the featured colors in its paint scheme are light blue, green and purple.

“We are elated and grateful to be able to fulfill the strategic vision of our CEO, Mrs. Carolyn Emanuel-McClain, to increase the health and welfare of the Aiken community and the surrounding areas with the William Clyburn Community Health Express,” said Jamie Ulmer, Rural Health Services’ chief operating officer. “It will operate as an extension of the Clyburn Center for Primary Care.”

Through a collaboration with the Aiken County Public School District, the Clyburn Express will be visiting schools on a regular basis. It also will travel to other facilities, and Rural Health Services will send the vehicle out to various weekend events.

The Clyburn Express’ primary purpose is to bring medical and dental care to places where it is not readily available and to people whose access to such services is restricted by lack of transportation and/or finances.

Rural Health Services used “grant dollars and state appropriations” to acquire, equip and staff the Clyburn Express, Ulmer said.

The mobile unit has three bays. Medical procedures can be performed in all three, and two also have the equipment needed for dental procedures.

When the Clyburn Express is “fully operational,” Ulmer said, there will be seven to nine Rural Health Services employees on its staff. They will include a dentist, a dental hygienist, a medical office assistant, a driver and a provider such as a doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

The Clyburn Express “is state of the art,” and filled with “technologically advanced” equipment, said Ulmer.

The vehicle’s cost was around $550,000.

Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.