The Mississippi Gulf Coast Children’s Health Project (MGCCHP) was established in response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Child health indicators rank Mississippi 50th in the nation. Pervasive barriers to care contributing to this include lack of transportation, lack of insurance, geographic isolation and financial instability; nearly one third of all children in Mississippi lived in poverty even before Hurricane Katrina. The MGCCHP is part of Children’s Health Fund’s Transportation Initiative, which enhances access to transportation to medical appointments for patients living in areas with deficiencies in public transportation.
The MGCCHP utilizes a state-of-the-art mobile health clinic to deliver comprehensive primary and mental health care. Mobile clinics are uniquely suited to the provision of post-disaster health care, allowing clinical teams to bring services directly where they are needed most, and to respond to the changing conditions and needs of the community. As the community continues the recovery process, the MGCCHP has provided continuity of care for a still emigrating community. Recognizing that mental health care plays a crucial role in the response to any disaster, the project places an emphasis on counseling and community outreach, as well as mental health trainings for health care, education and social workers in the community. The MGCCHP provides integrated primary and mental health care for children and their families regardless of their ability to pay - at public housing complexes, public schools, and other community sites.