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Congratulations, Dr. Alina Olteanu!

by Arturo Brito, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer & Executive Vice President,
Children's Health Fund

One of the unique aspects of Children's Health Fund (CHF) programs is the doctor/patient relationships that develop.  Because many of our patients don’t have access to a plethora of health care services, our doctors go above and beyond enhancing the health of their patients and often become mentors, friends, and advocates for families within the communities they serve. Alina Olteanu, MD, PhD, FAAP, Medical Director of CHF’s New Orleans Children’s Health Project and head of the section of Community Pediatrics and Global Health in the Tulane School of Medicine, is no exception.  Since 2009 Alina has run NOCHP, providing care to the poor and underserved children in New Orleans.  Her patients say she is not only a doctor, but also a great friend, who is available all hours of the day.   

This weekend, we are proud to announce that Dr. Olteanu will receive the 2010 Council on Community Pediatrics Local Heroes Award at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco, CA.  This annual award recognizes Dr. Olteanu’s leadership through community action and advocacy for kids in the New Orleans community. 

Congratulations, Alina we are proud of your work and so happy you’re being recognized for all that you do for the children of New Orleans!

Faces from the Field: Darlene Ray, MD

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

This week, we’re so happy to introduce you to Dr. Darlene Ray, who serves in our Southern Arizona Children’s Health Project.  Enjoy!

Caitlin (C):How long have you been working with CHF?

Darlene:   I first learned of CHF as a pediatric resident, working with Randy Christensen on his mobile unit dedicated to the homeless teens in Phoenix.  My work on the Southern AZ project began this past summer in June. 

C: What made you want to work for this type of organization?

Darlene: Since finishing my training 5 years ago, I have had a strong desire to work with the underserved in my community.  I believe that by increasing a child’s access to quality, preventive medical care, we can positively impact his/her future.  Through Children’s Health Fund, I now enjoy the supportive network of dedicated, compassionate health care providers who seek to accomplish that same goal.  Working on the mobile medical clinic has allowed me to provide quality medical care for children who otherwise are limited to only emergent care. 

C: What is your favorite part about working on the mobile clinic?

Darlene: Working with families with few resources and who face challenges on a daily basis can be difficult at times.  Knowing that we can help, even if in a small way, gives me great satisfaction. 

C: What’s your favorite thing to do when not working?

Darlene: When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and 2 sons, hiking, listening to or playing music, salsa dancing and traveling.

C: What are the biggest challenges children and families in your region are experiencing in accessing health care and how are you addressing them?

Darlene:  One of the greatest challenges our families face is lack of insurance coverage.  For many, it is due to cuts in state funding that have left a large portion of children (and adults) uninsured. For some mixed status families (children born in the US to parents who are not citizens), we have learned that they do not apply for Medicaid for their children out of fear.  Fortunately, with our sliding fee, we do not have to turn any of these families away.

C: What are some unique programs or events that your program has to offer?

Darlene: Our mobile medical clinic is new to our community, and we have been focusing much of our efforts in trying to inform the community of what we can offer.  Families are often surprised when they see that we have an electronic health record system, we can check their child’s vision and hearing, give vaccines, perform blood draws and perform comprehensive medical exams.   It also gives me great satisfaction to know that we are able to provide care for anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.  In essence they can theoretically be our patient for their lifetime.  That is precisely what a medical home is meant to be.  We just happen to be a home on wheels!

Photo Friday - Congrats to Jennifer Lopez!

Children's Health Fund congratulates Jennifer Lopez on being selected as one of the new American Idol judges.  Pictured above from Children's Health Fund 2007 Gala (from left to right):  Dr. Irwin Redlener, Karen Redlener, Paul Simon, Jennifer Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony.

Photo Friday: CHF's Day of Service with MBIA

►Pictured here are volunteers from MBIA an organization that is a part of Children's Health Fund's Workplace Giving Campaign.  Through their employee engagement they have helped enable a CHF mobile medical team to provide comprehensive health care to homeless children and families staying at a shelter in the Bronx.  After a tour of CHF's mobile unit, volunteers spent the day painting a youth recreational room at one of the homeless family shelters where CHF provides care. Thanks MBIA for all of your support and for a great day!

Faces from the Field: Kay Kelly, LPN

Nurse Kay Kelly of the Memphis Children's Health Project by Caitlin McFeely, Communications Associate, Children's Health Fund

Hi blog readers!! Today’s “Face from the Field”, Kay Kelly, LPN, comes from our program in Memphis. We hope you enjoy meeting her…don’t forget to leave a question or comment in the comments section below!

Caitlin (C): How long have you been working with CHF?

Kay: I have been at Le Bonheur for 3 years, and I have worked with the mobile unit 1 ½ years.

C: What made you want to work for this type of organization?

Kay: I came to this organization with 21 years of Public Health experience. I have a passion to help improve the health and well-being of those less fortunate.

C: What is your favorite part about working on the mobile clinic (or CHF fixed site)?

Kay: It is humbling to see the gratitude of the families and children we serve that might otherwise go without health care services. I’m glad we are here to help them.

Photo Friday - Eating Healthy!

Eating Healthy = Healthy Kids

► September 2010 has been designated National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to try and shine the spotlight on the growing obesity epidemic among youth in the US.  CHF patient Selena knows that eating fruits will keep her healthy!

Photo Friday - Heading Back to School

For many students, school begins next week.  Children's Health Fund programs around the nation provide services in their community, bringing medical, dental and mental health services directly to local schools.  Wishing everyone a safe & healthy Labor Day weekend!

Faces from the Field: Kimberly Williams, RN

Posted by Nurse Kim, Children's Health Fund’s Phoenix Children’s Health Project

My name is Kimberly Williams.   I’ve been a Registered Nurse for 16 years and feel extremely fortunate to have a career that I love so much.  I started working for Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 1994, first working in General Pediatrics and taking care of kids with a variety of health problems.  That experience gave me the confidence to work in the Emergency Department, where I worked as a staff nurse. After 4 years in the ER, I assumed the position of Interim Clinical Nurse Educator.  I loved being an educator, but my passion has always been “helping” children and their families, so you can imagine how excited I was when, two years ago, one of my nurse friends informed me that the “Crews’N Healthmobile” (CHF’s Phoenix Children’s Health Project) had an RN position available.  I applied the day after I found out and a few weeks later, I was boarding the Big Blue Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) for the very first time.   I was warned that this kind of work can take its toll, but since joining the Crews’N Healthmobile, my love for my job has only grown stronger and my passion for nursing has skyrocketed (I can tell you more about that in an upcoming post!).

Photo Friday - Remembering Hurricane Katrina

This Sunday marks the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Immediately after Katrina, CHF Co-Founders Irwin Redlener, MD and Paul Simon, went down to the Gulf to survey the damage and organize a rapid medical response. Five days after the storm, mobile medical units from Children’s Health Fund’s (CHF) national network arrived and began providing medical care.  Since 2005, CHF has established three permanent projects in the Gulf Coast area and continues to care for children and families that are still feeling the effects of the Hurricane.

Faces from the Field: Donna D. Usner, ACE, LCSW-BACS

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

This Saturday, August 28, marks the 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Shortly after the hurricane ravished the Gulf Coast, CHF’s mobile clinics were on the ground, providing health care for the children and families in the region.  Three permanent Children's Health Fund programs, in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Mississippi Gulf Coast, were launched and continue to provide health and mental health care to children and families living in the Gulf Coast region today.

Today, we’re talking to Donna Usner, who has been with the New Orleans Children’s Health Project since the program launched after Hurricane Katrina.  Enjoy!

Caitlin (C): Donna, thanks for interviewing with us!  How long have you been working with CHF? 

Donna: I began work with NOCHP not long after Katrina, in 2006.

C: What made you want to work for this type of organization?

Donna: As part of a career goal, I’ve always worked with children and families during a time of crisis. CHF’s work fit with my personal mission. Prior to Katrina, I worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital that flooded and under great controversy would not reopen. As a result, I was forced to write the next chapter in my life. I met some of the CHF team in Baton Rouge and they talked me into doing a mental health needs assessment for the New Orleans area with the intent to have a Community Support and Resiliency Unit arrive the following spring.

C: What is your favorite part about working on the mobile clinic?

Donna: The mobile clinics I work on are state of the art clinics that truly remove barriers to accessing quality health care (physical and mental health care). The families we meet are my ‘favorite part’ of the work but the fact that each day is different… one never knows what to expect next on the mobile unit J! I also enjoy my work at a local maternity home done in conjunction with the mobile care clinics.

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