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Photo Friday - A Warm & Safe Holiday to All!

► Happy Holidays from Children's Health Fund!

Growing Our Fleet

By Jonathan Rabinowitz, Fleet Manager, Children’s Health Fund

What a year to be Fleet Manager! Here at Children's Health Fund we have six new vehicles (five of them mobile clinics) on the road that we didn't have last year.  It has been a lot of hard work and attention to detail to make sure that every project's vehicle matches as best we can what is needed for that specific project's staff and patients. You would think that because the mobile clinics are all blue on the outside, that they are all the same inside, but this is emphatically not the case.

Laniqua Roussell, Program Manager, New Orleans Children's Health Project and Jonathan Rabinowitz, CHF Fleet Manager  in front of new Crisis UnitOne new vehicle is the Colorado transit van, supported by American Idol “Idol Gives Back,” that was delivered in the fall. The Telluride Foundation Medical Shuttle is a Chevrolet Express van that picks up residents of three rural Colorado counties and takes them to their medical appointments. You can read more about it (and see a picture) in this informative article from the Telluride Daily Planet.

Vehicle no. 2 is the Plaquemines Crisis Response Unit. Back in January, I had seen this 1995 International van in the parking lot at Parkland Hospital, in Dallas, Texas (near where our Dallas Children’s Health Project is located), when it was buff-colored and retired from active service. But I found out it had new generators, and a Diesel engine with only 62,000 miles on it—practically brand new. So, after the oil spill crisis, when Dr. Redlener was looking for a unit that could treat patients in Plaquemines Parish, I suggested that we buy this one from Parkland, fix it up, paint it blue, and deliver it to Louisiana. Thanks goes out to our friends at Miller's RV in Baton Rouge, LA, who took on the monster job of buffing and painting it in the midst of hurricane season.

Our third mobile clinic is the New York Children's Health Project Mobile Dental Clinic. This vehicle replaces an older dental van and will bring dental services to the New York Children’s Health Project’s network of clinical sites. It will be staffed by Montefiore Medical Center dentists, our clinical partner for New York Children's Health Project, and can already be seen on New York streets.

Our next new vehicle is also a New York Project clinic, the American Idol “Idol Gives Back” mobile medical clinic, with additional support from Deerfield Foundation and Siemens. It is a brand new vehicle, with a Winnebago shell and a colorful interior that was designed specifically with the needs and wants of our kid patients in mind. Early reports say that both children and staff love it!

And last on the list are two brand-new vehicles from Farber Specialty Vehicles, in Columbus, Ohio, that are now in Detroit, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey.  Stylistically, the lay-out of these units are a bit different and the entire front of the vehicle was turned into a THIRD exam room, allowing clinical providers in Newark, NJ and in Detroit, MI even more flexibility to treat patients. The Detroit mobile medical clinic, funded by American Idol “Idol Gives Back” has a larger waiting area in the middle, with an additional sink; the New Jersey mobile medical clinic, funded by Webkinz Foundation has a larger room in front, with a state-of-the-art convertible chair that flips up and down, so that it can be used not only for medical exams but for dental exams as well.

I know the staff and patients at our programs around the National Network are tremendously excited for their new vehicles, as am I.  Good luck and drive safely!

Photo Friday - Happy Holidays from Children's Health Fund's Baton Rouge Children's Health Project

Happy Holidays from Children's Health Fund's Baton Rouge Children's Health Project

►Members of the Baton Rouge Children’s Health Project get in the Holiday spirit. Left to Right: Winnie Harris, Driver/Registrar; Shameka Williams, Social Worker; Jeff Soileau; Health Educator; Tracy Parker, Nurse Practitioner; Jennifer Hackler, Art Therapist; Schaun Morgan, Case Manager; Alyson McCain, Psychologist; Shelly Dubriel, Registered Nurse; Linda Lee, Program Administrator; Denise Sellers, Psychologist; and Jimmie Badon, Driver/Registrar.

Photo Friday - Children's Health Project of Detroit Kicks Off in the Motor City

Children's Health Fund Co-Founder Paul Simon Helps Kick-Off 25th Project in Detroit

►Children's Health Fund (CHF) Co-founder Paul Simon joined Senator Debbie Stabenow, Irwin Redlener, M.D., and Nancy M. Schlichting of Henry Ford Health Systems for the launch of CHF's 23rd program, the Children's Health Project of Detroit.  Thanks to all who made this program possible! 

Photo Friday - Holiday Sorting/Wrapping Party with Friends from MediaCom

Volunteers from MediaCom helped to sort and wrap new clothing for CHF patients and visitors, and visited a CHF mobile clinic

►Pictured here with Carol Sumkin (second from left), Children's Health Fund's Senior VP, Development, are volunteers from MediaCom, who joined us today to sort and wrap new hats, scarves, gloves, sweaters, sweat shirts & socks for CHF patients & their families. It's a true struggle for our homeless patients to get the most basic necessities, including warm clothing & food, so these items will certainly help during the winter months.  Thanks to MediaCom and ICAP for donating today's items!!  Check out our twitter feed for live updates and pictures from our sorting party: www.twitter.com/chfund

Happy Thanksgiving from Children's Health Fund

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

CHF's NY program staff help families find services that provide them with access to food.This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a wonderful tradition and time to enjoy a hearty home-cooked meal with family and friends while giving thanks.  It’s also a time to think about those who aren’t as fortunate and won’t be able to enjoy a meal this Thanksgiving.

When I was working on the mobile clinics with the New York Children’s Health Project (NYCHP), one of the first questions I would ask my patients was “Have you eaten today?”  Sadly, the answer to this question was often “no.”  Many of the families seen by CHF doctors across the country struggle from food insecurities.  In fact, in a recent survey of all of the programs within CHF’s National Network, we found that referrals made by health care providers to community-based services were most frequently related to food insecurity.  Proper nutrition is pivotal to healthy living, especially for children, so when a patient hasn’t eaten, his or her health will undoubtedly be impacted.

Luckily, because of CHF’s ability to not only provide primary care services, but also social services referrals to help address the complete picture of a child’s well-being, we were able to help these families get food immediately and begin the process of signing the families up for food assistance programs.  In New York, if a family visiting the clinic needs an immediate source of food, we are able to go to the food pantry at CHF's New York Children's Health Project and provide a few days worth of healthy meals for the entire family.  As part of the longer-term solution, NYCHP staff helps the family find services that will provide them with access to food via food stamps, benefits, or other local soup kitchens or pantries.  From January to October 2010, the NYCHP food pantry fed more than 400 individuals and helped get them back on their feet. 

Children's Health Fund programs and services, like our food pantry, wouldn't be possible without your support, so this Thanksgiving we thank you for all that you do to help us provide the best health care to underserved communities. We hope you all enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with your friends and families.

Photo Friday: Prince Charles' visit to Harlem Children's Health Project

Prince Charles' visit to Harlem Children's Health Project 2007

►During a January 2007 visit to New York that focused on youth development, urban regeneration and environmental conservation, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Children's Health Fund's Harlem Children's Health Project, as part of a tour of the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ).  The Prince and Duchess discussed and toured the Health Promotion Learning Lab where HCZ Promise Academy Middle School students were engaged in an interactive computer lesson about asthma and the Harlem community.  Two years later, as part of his first official overseas visit, Prince Harry visited the program as well.

Photo Friday....CHF Staff Goes Bowling

Children's Health Fund Staff

► This afternoon, Irwin & Karen Redlener are taking the staff from CHF's Headquarters bowling.  Sporting our new CHF shirts, we are off to have some fun and celebrate what we have accomplished this year thanks to hard work and all of our generous supporters!  We hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Supporting Grandparents as Caregivers

By Dr. Rhonique Shields-Harris, Medical Director of Children’s Health Project of D.C.

In 2006, CHF's Children's Health Project of DC (CHPDC) launched a grandparent support group for local grandparents who were raising their grandchildren. CHPDC recognized a need to provide assistance and encouragement to this growing population because of their often unexpected roles as caregivers. The group not only provides support, but also acts as a place where these grandparents can access legal advice, referrals, housing resources and assistance completing forms and applying for benefits for their grandchildren.

Interestingly, an article in yesterday's New York Times noted findings from the most recent Census Bureau report regarding the sharp rise in the number of children living with their grandparents. In 2010 in the US, 6.5 percent of children live with their grandparents, which is the highest rate in 20 years and an 8 percent increase since 2009. Given these new findings, it's important for support groups like ours to provide resources to help these grandparents in raising the next generation.

Photo Friday-Congrats to Susan Spalding, MD

From left to right:  Karen Redlener, Executive Director, Children's Health Fund, Susan Spalding, MD, Medical Director, CHF's Dallas Children's Health Project, Irwin Redlener, MD, President. Children's Health Fund.  During Children's Health Fund's Annual Conference in Austin, Dr. Spalding received the 2010 CHF Founders' Clinician Award (supported by Schering-Plough Foundation) for her 18 years of incredible service.  Congrats!

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