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Faces from the Field: Dr. Elliott Attisha

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

National Doctor’s Day honors the work of doctors across the United States. In celebration of Doctor’s Day 2011, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the newest pediatrician to join the Children’s Health Fund (CHF) community, Dr. Elliott Attisha from the Children’s Health Project of Detroit.

Dr. Attisha grew up in the metro Detroit area and has been working as a pediatrician in the Motor City for the past 10 years. I haven’t met Elliott in person, but this interview offered me the opportunity to hear more about the challenges the children of Detroit face accessing health care, as well as Elliott’s perspective about caring for the kids of this community.

Caitlin (C): What inspired you to become a doctor?

Patient care on CHF's Detroit Mobile Medical Unit. Elliott (E): I would have to say that my parents, especially my dad, pretty much engraved the idea in my head from a few minutes after I was born and maybe even when I was still in my mother’s womb. Of course, I rebelled and wanted to become anything but a doctor. As many people do, I changed my career goals in college multiple times and finally decided to give medicine a chance. I volunteered in a hospital and knew that this is where I belonged. Although I started out with the intent of becoming a family doctor, the part I enjoyed the most was working with kids, so I pursued a career in pediatrics instead. What better a profession for someone who never wants to grow up? Later in life I married a pediatrician who happens to feel the same way.

C: What made you want to work for an organization like CHF?

E: For over nine years, I practiced pediatrics in suburban Detroit. Although I cherished the continuity of care, I longed to make a more lasting impact in my community. In September 2010, I joined Henry Ford Health System’s School-Based and Community Health Program in Detroit. My role as a pediatrician truly became that of an advocate for some of our nation’s most underserved children. The challenges that inner-city children face are overwhelming, with multiple barriers to health care, education, proper nutrition and so much more. Henry Ford’s School-Based health clinics play an integral role in alleviating many of these barriers. I found my work to be truly rewarding. Soon after joining the school clinics I was informed of Henry Ford’s partnership with CHF. It didn’t take more than a few minutes of learning about the program to know that it was the perfect complement to what Henry Ford was already doing with each of its school clinics.

Photo Friday - Meet CHF's Newest Team Member, Dr. Manali Kanitkar

Dr. Manali Kanitkar joins Children's Health Fund's New York Mobile Dental Clinic.

Today, Children's Health Fund welcomed Dr. Manali Kanitkar, the new dentist for the New York Mobile Dental Clinic, which will begin providing much needed dental care to New York City kids in a few weeks. Dr. Kanitkar spoke with CHF staff today and is pictured here (center) with Dr. Irwin Redlener and Dr. Delaney Gracy. Stay tuned for a full introduction to Dr. Kanitkar, including her vision and experience with the pediatric 'Dental Home'.

Photo Friday - Spring is Just Around the Corner!

Children's Health Fund teaches children and their families that playing outdoors is a great way to stay healthy and active.

With warmer weather and longer days, it's much easier to get outside and get some exercise.  Hitting the playground (like these kids in Southern Arizona), playing a sport, or even taking a walk with your kids after dinner are all fun ways your family can get the exercise your body needs.  

Need more ideas on ways to get moving? Check out our recently updated Healthy B.A.S.I.C.S brochure: Be Active for Good Health.

Photo Friday - A Look Back to the Welfare Hotels of New York

Homeless child sitting in New York Homeless Shelter

We recently came across a number of photos from Dr. Redlener's visits to the NYC welfare hotels  in the late 1980s.  As you can see from today's photo, homeless children were living in horrendous conditions with little chance of achieving a healthy lifestyle.  Unfortunately, many children today are still suffering like this young girl. With your support, we will continue to bring these children the health care they need and deserve.

Photo Friday - Promoting Proper Nutrition All Year Round

CHF Dietician Working with Child

This year, the theme of national nutrition month is "Eat Right with Color" and it's a great time to think about adding more colorful fruits and vegetable to your diet. In this photo, nutritionist Dr. Sandra Arevalo is teaching her patient what his dinner plate should look like.  We're glad to see he is adding his greens! 

Our programs are committed to helping families understand healthy eating and exercise habits through programs like the Starting Right Initiative, a multi-faceted program designed to increase awareness of the rise in pediatric overweight risks including type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Children's Health Fund also creates health education materials that make vital health information accessible to children, teenagers, parents and care givers. Material topics include promoting healthy behaviors, growth and development, preventing disease and managing chronic illness. These award-winning health education materials are available for download in English and Spanish. 

 

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.   

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.

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.

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!

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