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Faces from the Field: Dr. Rhonique Shields-Harris

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

Hello blog readers, this is Caitlin from Children's Health Fund's Communication’s department.

We have some exciting posts on the horizon that we think will give you an even better glimpse into the Children’s Health Fund.  We’ve asked some of our doctors, nurses, mental health providers, drivers, and other staff members across the CHF Network to contribute to our blog and the response has been overwhelming!!  Over the next few months, we will begin to introduce you to the faces of CHF—the people providing quality health care to America’s most vulnerable children.  After their introduction, keep your eye out for more posts from these new bloggers.  We hope you enjoy the posts and please feel free to leave comments/questions. 

Well, that is enough from me…Check out my interview with Dr. Rhonique Shields-Harris, Medical Director of CHF’s Children’s Health Project of D.C. (CHPDC).

Caitlin (C):  Dr. Harris, how long have you been working with CHPDC?

Dr. Harris:  I’ve been with the program for 11 years now!  I started as a pediatric resident and when I finished my residency, stayed with the program as an attending physician.  I took over as the Medical Director of the program in 2005.

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

Dr. H:   During residency my training involved working on the mobile units and providing advocacy for the families. I knew that this was a meaningful career path, which is why I requested to stay with the program. 

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

Dr. H:   My favorite part is knowing that at the end of the day, many of my patients are living healthier lifestyles because of the work of the mobile health team

C: What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Dr. H:  I love to run.  I will be starting a “Girls on the Run” team for the patients with in our mobile and fixed site practice

C:  What do you think are the biggest challenges children and families in your region are experiencing in accessing health care?

Dr. H:  Reimbursement of the true cost of care is a big problem.  The low availability of dental providers is another – many of our patients are 10 or 11 and have never seen a dentist before.  Shortage of health care professionals is also an issue in Southeast D.C. 

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

Dr. H:  One new program that I am really proud of is our Grandparent Support Group.  We found that many of our patients were being raised by their grandparents and that the grandparents were facing many financial or emotional challenges as a result of their sudden or unexpected role as caregiver.  Once a month, we hold a meeting to provide support and encouragement to this group.  We also help them with legal advice, referrals, housing resources and applying for benefits for their grandkids.  It’s been quite a success so far!