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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!