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Photo Friday - A Blast From the Past

► Children's Health Fund (CHF) is lucky to have so many noteable friends that support our work.  Pictured here from left to right:  Don Mattingly, who helped launched Children's Health Fund's Yankee Home Run Club, CHF Co-Founder Paul Simon, Jane Pauley, Chair of CHF's Advisory Council, and CHF Co-Founder and President Irwin Redlener M.D.   

Defunding Health Care Reform Jeopordizes Well Being of America's Children

Today the House of Representatives voted to attach to a budget bill multiple amendments that would prohibit funding for important health care reform provisions that benefit children and families.

Defunding health care reform would halt progress in enrolling at least 5 million children in health insurance and limit the ability of the federal government to protect patients, regulate premium increases, set up insurance exchanges and hold insurance companies accountable.

In addition, the budget bill contains deep cuts to federal programs that would impact the lives and health of America’s children, including a $210 million cut to the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, which supports state and local programs serving women, babies, children and children with special heath care needs, and a $747 million cut to the WIC program, which provides supplemental food, health care referrals, and nutrition education to at-risk infant, children and pregnant women.

It’s crucial that children have access to affordable, comprehensive health care services. Let your legislator know that you don’t support legislation that jeopardizes the well-being of millions of America’s children.

Photo Friday - Out on the Rural Roads of Southern Arizona

Dr. Darlene Ray in front of the CHF Mobile Medical Unit she sees patients in.

► At CHF's Southern Arizona Children’s Health Project, doctors like Darlene Ray (pictured here) provide medical and dental services to kids of the rural US/Mexico borderlands of Cochise County, Arizona (an area equivalent to the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island together!) Check out Dr. Ray's post about working in Southern Arizona.

Help! Major Budget Cuts Ahead

By Deirdre Byrne, Director of Policy, Children's Health Fund

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee released a budget bill to fund the government for the next year which contains major proposed cuts to programs that help children and families every day.  They are expected to vote on this measure THIS WEEK.  Included in the cuts are:

  • $1.3 billion CUT to health centers, ending recovery funding for community health centers, eliminating funding for increased demand of services grants meant to respond to the economic downturn and undermining the capacity of health centers to provide services to an estimated 11 million patients.
  • $210 million CUT to the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which supports state and local programs serving women, babies, children and children with special heath care needs, to detect developmental delays and provide treatment early to avoid costlier treatment down the road.  This cut equals 32% of the program.
  • $530 million CUT to community development block grants, which help finance housing, sewer, streets and economic development in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, including housing for the homeless.

Though different than the budget presented by President Obama yesterday, this budget proposal is just as important as it will determine how money is spent through the remainder of this fiscal year.

It is extremely urgent that lawmakers hear from you about how these cuts will negatively impact your community.  Write your lawmaker now, let them know that you support these programs and realize the impact of these budget cuts in your community. 

Thanks for your help!!

Photo Friday - Share the Love!

Share the love and give the gift of good health.  Do something different this Valentine's Day, make a donation to Children's Health Fund in honor of your loved one. You can even send your Valentine a eCard or letter in the mail!  

Photo Friday - Healthy Teeth = Healthy Kids

►In honor of "Give Kids A Smile" Day, take a few minutes to remind your kids how to properly brush and floss their teeth.  You can even demonstrate proper brushing on a doll, just like the boy in this picture!  Or, download our Healthy Teeth Bright Smiles brochure and share with your children.

Giving Kids A Smile…All Year Round

by Delaney Gracy, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Children's Health Fund

Today, as part of National Childhood Dental Awareness month, the American Dental Association (ADA) celebrates “Give Kids A Smile” Day.  This year, over 12,000 dentists have signed up to participate in the program and provide free oral health care to kids from low-income families across the country.  In addition, dental-health focused events across the country will help to shine the light on the many barriers facing low-income families who are trying to access dental care for their kids. 

At Children's Health Fund (CHF), we know all too well how difficult it is for children living in poverty to access dental care. Kids living in poverty have twice the odds of having tooth decay, twice the extent of the decay, twice the unmet treatment need, twice the pain experience, but half the access to dental care than their more affluent peers.   A variety of variables adds to this lack of access:

  • Medicaid’s low reimbursement rate discourages many dentists from participating;
  • Many children in rural communities face transportation barriers in accessing dental care; and
  • In designated dental Health Professional Shortage Areas, too few dentists are available to meet the needs of the community.

At CHF, addressing these low rates of dental care is always a priority. Our National Network programs in Arkansas, Dallas, Idaho, New York City (including Harlem) and Washington, D.C., provide free, comprehensive oral health care – screening, dental exams, digital x-rays, oral health education and dental procedures – to low-income children. Eight of our programs offer fluoride varnishes in the primary care setting, and throughout the National Network primary care providers conduct oral health screenings and provide referrals to collaborating community dentists.  

Today in Idaho, our Idaho Children’s Health Project (ICHP) is participating in the ADA’s “Give Kids A Smile” day!  Dentists will be providing exams, sealants, and fluoride varnishes for 2nd and 3rd graders at Bickel Elementary in Twin Falls and hope to see about 110 kids throughout the day (they will definitely be keeping busy!)  The ICHP is working in collaboration with the Caring Foundation for Children, who will help with paperwork, the College of Southern Idaho, who will bring volunteer dental assistant students, and Delta Dental, who is supplying tooth brush kits for the kids!

We are thrilled to join the ADA’s commitment to helping provide dental care to low-income kids and bring awareness to the many access barriers facing the kids in these communities.  Today and everyday we all need to do what we can to ensure all kids have something to smile about!

A Gold Medal for the New York Children’s Health Project

By Dr. Sharon “PJ” Joseph, Medical Director, New York Children's Health Project, Community Pediatrics Program

As a mom and a pediatrician, there are many moments in my life that have made my heart swell with pride: Graduating from medical school, welcoming each one of my children into the world and helping a severely ill patient get better are a few that come to mind.  This January, my colleagues at the New York Children’s Health Project (NYCHP) and I experienced pride that is on par with these milestones, when NYCHP attained the highest level National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation as a Patient Centered Home. NYCHP is the Nation’s first mobile medical program to receive the Advanced/Level 3 accreditation, putting our program on the same level as the best health care providers in the country.  It truly is a gold medal around our neck and something we work hard to attain each and every day.

Since NYCHP was established in 1987, our goal has been to provide the best and most comprehensive care, including medical, mental health and nutrition services.  We aim to ensure that NO patient falls through the cracks, that communication with patients and their parents is top-notch, that lab and test results are promptly delivered, and that when referral appointments are made, our patients have the support they need in order to complete the referral and receive timely and appropriate care.  This isn’t always easy when working with such a transient population in an environment that presents numerous challenges of its own.   But because of NYCHP’s unique approach to providing services, we have been able to provide the highest quality of care to underserved patients and are so happy our model of care is now officially  recognized.

As a mom, I have always known that NYCHP is the kind of medical establishment where I would want to bring my kids.  It is a place where moms know their children will receive the best care – where we will both hold their hands and empower them to understand how to best care for their families.   As a doctor, I know the effort and commitment that is necessary for a medical program or institution to receive the Level 3 accreditation.  It was a team effort both in the field and throughout the extensive application process and now, with the NCQA accreditation, other doctors and medical establishments will be able to recognize the incredible quality of care provided by NYCHP. 

We always knew our work deserved a “gold medal.” Now that we have it, it feels great!

Photo Friday - How Chewbacca Helped Children's Health Fund

May the Force be with the Children's Health Fund.  In 2005, George Lucas selected Children's Health Fund as the charity that would benefit from the New York City red carpet premiere of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Pictured at the premiere, with Karen and Irwin Redlener... the one and only Chewbacca.  We're sure he stays warm in this snowy winter weather!

Delicious AND Nutritious… Why I Loved Microwave Cooking

by Caitlin McFeely, Communications Associate, Children's Health Fund

Cara, of the Nutrition Team at the New York Children’s Health Project, shows the class how to cook up a proper family meal. Try these sure-to-please recipies from the team Microwave Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Spaghetti in Marinara Sauce Green Beans Simply Easy Cheesecake.

Yesterday, I visited a shelter in New York City with members of the New York Children’s Health Project (NYCHP)’s nutrition team (Vicky, Cara, and Maya) to take part in a cooking class that teaches moms in the shelter how they can create a healthy and delicious meal, all in the microwave. As I admitted in yesterday’s blog post, I was skeptical that the meal we cooked would really be tasty. Could microwave chicken parmesan really compare with my mom’s chicken parmesan made from scratch? Well, sorry mom, but it really did!

A few reasons why I loved yesterday’s class:

  1. The class is really helpful for the moms in the shelter and they totally appreciate learning how to cook using the microwave. In fact, a few moms had just moved into the shelter and were attending for the first time. You could see they were really paying attention to the recipe and I think were as surprised as me to find out how good the food tasted!
     
  2. Vicky and team do a great job of integrating nutrition tips into the lesson. For example, since we were cooking pasta, one of the important nutrition tips focused on portion size from foods in the grain group. Since 1 serving of cooked pasta = ½ cup and women are only supposed to have 5 servings from the grain food group for the entire day, Vicky explained that it’s important to watch how much pasta you serve yourself and your kids!
     
  3. Cooking in the microwave is quick, easy, and the food tastes good. I was amazed at how tender and tasty the chicken was, and it only took 15 minutes total to prepare. And the cheese cake… INCREDIBLE!

But for me, the absolute best part about the class was that the moms can bring their children. It was adorable to see the 3-year olds helping mix the pasta sauce or the batter for the cheesecake. I hope that by participating and learning how to cook a meal that is delicious and nutritious from such an early age, these kids will be set on a healthy track throughout their childhood.

Vicky and team are in the process of working on a cookbook of microwave recipes that they can share with other shelters across New York City.

But as a little treat, Vicky has agreed to share our recipe from yesterday. Try it out… I know you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks to the NYCHP team and the moms for letting me join in on class yesterday!

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