Skip to Content

New Mobile Clinic Launches in Detroit


There was plenty of spirit at the October 28 launch event unveiling a new mobile medical clinic for kids in Detroit’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who was instrumental in helping Children’s Health Fund start and expand its mobile health project in Detroit, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at Dixon Learning Academy along with Children’s Health Fund Executive Director Karen Redlener, leadership from Henry Ford Health System, dozens of supporters of the program and press.

Children’s Health Fund partners with Henry Ford Health System to operate the Children’s Health Project of Detroit. The first Detroit mobile clinic, which hit the streets in 2011, is nicknamed “Hank” in honor of Henry Ford. This new one is called “Clara” in remembrance of Ford’s wife. Together, Hank and Clara will provide comprehensive health care to up to 800 children each year, visiting their schools on a regular schedule.

“Kids need to be healthy to be ready to learn,” Karen Redlener emphasized in her remarks. “If a child can’t see the blackboard, or is up all night coughing with asthma, how are they going to learn?” she said. Each year an estimated 12 million school days are missed due to asthma.

“Here in Detroit, 20% of children have asthma, twice the national average,” noted Henry Ford pediatrician Dr. Elliott Attisha, the medical director for the mobile health program. Many children from low-income families can’t get to a doctor because their parents aren’t able to leave work to take them, and limited public transportation makes it difficult to get to a health clinic that may be far away.  “We have so many barriers in the city of Detroit,” Attisha told “These mobile clinics allow us to bring care directly to the schools, which decreases school absence.”

Students at Dixon have been getting regular visits from “Hank,” and when the students on the Dixon Drill Team marched out to perform at the event it was clear they aren’t letting any barriers get in their way. They gave a rousing cheer, chanting “Yes, we’re motivated! Yes, we’re dedicated!”

Clara will initially serve students at Thirkell Elementary and Cody High School. More schools are expected to be added in 2014.

The purchase of the new mobile clinic was underwritten by W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and its operational budget  will be funded, in part, by the Foundation. Additional support for the Children’s Health Project of Detroit is generously provided by CATCH Charity for Children, Detroit Lions Charities, The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Michigan Department of Community Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Superior Ambulance.