Henry Ford and Children’s Health Fund Expand Access to Health Care with Second Mobile Medical Clinic for Detroit’s Medically Underserved Children
DETROIT - To keep up with the extraordinary need for health care services among Detroit’s medically underserved children, Children’s Health Fund and Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) today unveiled a second mobile medical clinic for the Children’s Health Project of Detroit that will double its capacity to provide comprehensive health care services for school children in Detroit’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) joined Children’s Health Fund Executive Director Karen Redlener and Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy M. Schlichting at Dixon Educational Learning Academy on Oct. 28 to celebrate this expansion of services. The Dixon Drill Team and students from Thirkell Elementary School performed at the ribbon cutting ceremony for this new “doctor’s office on wheels.”
Senator Stabenow has worked closely with Children’s Health Fund since 2009 and was instrumental in bringing the first mobile unit to the Children’s Health Project of Detroit three years ago. Senator Stabenow, who pledged her salary for the duration of the federal government shutdown, announced at today’s unveiling that she would donate $4,600 to Children’s Health Fund for the second mobile medical clinic.
The Children’s Health Project of Detroit began treating children in 2011 with its first mobile clinic, called “Hank” in honor of Henry Ford. This second mobile clinic, which has been named “Clara” in remembrance of Ford’s wife, has the capacity to double the current level of service to 2,000 medical visits, bringing health care to 700-800 children each year. Students at Thirkell Elementary and Cody High School will immediately benefit from this new capacity, with other schools expected to be added in 2014.
“It is essential that kids are healthy and ready to learn,” said Karen Redlener, the executive director of Children’s Health Fund. “If a child is up all night coughing with asthma, or can’t see the black board, how are they going to learn? Education is their ticket to a brighter future, and we believe every child deserves that chance. We are so pleased to work with Henry Ford Health System, and so thankful for our generous funders, as we work together towards that goal.”
“The first mobile medical clinic made a big difference in the lives of thousands of children in Detroit who couldn’t get basic health care services like wellness exams and checkups,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “I’m thrilled that with a second mobile clinic, made possible by the partnership between the Children’s Health Fund, the Henry Ford Health System, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, even more children will receive the health care they need to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.”
“The children of Detroit are our greatest asset for the future,” said Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System. “It is our job to keep them healthy so they can stay in school and get a good education. We are grateful to Children’s Health Fund for our partnership, and to the national and local funders who have made this second mobile medical clinic a reality and are supporting its operation.”
Henry Ford pediatrician Elliott Attisha, D.O., is the medical director for the Children’s Health Project of Detroit, under the leadership of Charles Barone, M.D., the chair of pediatrics at HFHS.
This new clinic is the first in the Children’s Health Fund fleet of 50 mobile medical clinics to include “slide outs” on both sides of the vehicle to significantly increase the interior and provide more space for two examining rooms as well as a private office for case management, parent meetings and consultations with specialists.
The “greenest” of all Children’s Health Fund clinics to date, the new mobile clinic is made of green certified materials and complies with strict emissions standards. The smiling kids on the exterior graphics showcase recent patients who were photographed by Dr. Attisha. Designed by Children’s Health Fund experts in collaboration with the Children’s Health Project of Detroit, all of these features support an ambitious level of comprehensive care and reflect the project’s goal to be an intrinsic part of the communities it serves. The new clinic was underwritten by W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the new clinic’s operations will be funded, in part, by the Foundation.
One of the chronic illnesses likely encountered on the mobile clinics is children who suffer from asthma. Asthma is epidemic in Detroit. An estimated 20% of children suffer with this chronic but very manageable disease. To help provide support in teaching and treating kids about their illness, Molina Healthcare is working with the Children’s Health Project of Detroit to create an asthma program to help keep kids healthy.
Verizon Foundation has launched a secured text messaging program helping kids in Children’s Health Project of Detroit’s asthma program to better manage their own health and receive reminders and tips to avoid ER visits. Verizon Foundation is also providing enhanced internet connectivity for both Clara and Hank, linking the mobile clinics to HFHS electronic health records to promote continuity of care for patients.
Additional support for the Children’s Health Project of Detroit is generously provided by CATCH Charity for Children, Detroit Lions Charities, The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Michigan Department of Community Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Superior Ambulance.
Children’s Health Fund was created in in 1987 in response to an unacceptable situation. For thousands of kids packed into New York City’s homeless shelters, their chance for the future was dim. That inspired singer/songwriter Paul Simon and pediatrician/child advocate Irwin Redlener, MD, to do something life-changing for these children. Adequate medical care was an essential first step in helping them to be healthy and ready to learn, to have dreams and the hope of achieving them. Today, Children’s Health Fund has 50 mobile clinics, each a “doctor’s offices on wheels,” serving hundreds of locations across the country. And, over the past 26 years, the organization has grown to support almost 250,000 health care visits each year for disadvantaged children. For more information, visit childrenshealthfund.org.
Henry Ford Health System offers an array of tertiary, acute and primary care services through its seven hospitals, 35 primary care centers and other health care entities. It has a deep commitment to community-based health care and through its School-Based and Community Health Program operates school-based/-linked health centers in low-income neighborhoods in Detroit and one in Macomb County. The mobile medical clinics are an expansion of this network of care. To learn more, visit henryford.com/PedsOnWheels.