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It's all smiles on the mobile medical clinic in Memphis, TN


Avoiding a Collision

This time of year a lot of kids come in for a sports exam, and it gives us an opportunity to discover hidden problems. When we examined a teen last week, he complained of pain near the ribs. This, plus several physical characteristics, made us concerned about Marfan syndrome, and so we referred him to see a cardiologist and orthopedic specialist to confirm the diagnosis and treat his condition. While we weren’t able to give the boy a green light to participate in contact sports, his family was very glad that he had come in for his physical. 

Getting Him Back in Shape

This week I was happy to see a 13-year-old that we have been treating for 3 months.  He’s lost over 10 pounds and his blood pressure is normal.  When I first examined him earlier in the year I diagnosed stage 1 hypertension and obesity. Through our case management program, our team was able to schedule the teen to see a pediatric endocrinologist.  We supported his commitment to a new lifestyle, increasing his physical activity, changing his eating habits to include more fruits and vegetables, and getting his blood pressure under control with medication. He is looking good!

Controlling His Asthma

A high school student we have been treating has had asthma since infancy. It really prevented him from playing the sports he loved. His parents had been taking him to the ER, where he had gotten an inhaler for acute asthma attacks.  We put him on a controller medication, which reduces the amount of time he needs to use the emergency inhaler. Now he’s back on the field and winning trophies. 


While the riverboats that ply the Mississippi lend Memphis its enduring charm, it’s a doctor’s office on wheels that gives disadvantaged kids a chance to get healthy and stay that way.  The Children’s Health Fund project in Memphis provides services to children and families in Memphis and rural West Tennessee who do not have a medical home. Through the mobile medical and health education clinics, the program identifies children’s health care needs, offers preventive health education, and links children to appropriate medical services. On average, about 120 children are seen each month.


“Most of our kids are uninsured, kids that aren’t getting regular physicals at the doctor’s office, and some that do have insurance but still aren’t seeing a doctor regularly,” says Kay Kelly, a nurse who has worked on the mobile clinic since 2009, “We see a lot of asthma and a lot of obesity.  And we do a lot of follow-ups on those kids.”


Through its affiliation with the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and its connections to local schools, the Memphis Children’s Health Fund Project reaches children and their families in the area who have limited access to medical care despite their close proximity to a hospital system – treating them for conditions that include chronic asthma, diabetes, obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated lead levels and teenage pregnancy.


“It’s a convenience since we don’t have an on-site clinic,” says Curtis Weathers, executive director of the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, one of the schools on the mobile clinic’s regular route.  “It’s been a godsend for us in a lot of different ways.”

Home Institution/Affiliation 
Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, Memphis, TN
Available services 
  • Comprehensive medical care;
  • Case management and referrals for community and social services;
  • Early childhood screenings and developmental testing;
  • Management of acute and chronic illnesses;
  • Well-Woman exams and referrals;
  • Mental health and behavioral screenings;
  • Nutrition assessment, cholesterol screening and body weight monitoring;
  • Screenings for lead, cholesterol, iron, BMI, peak flow, vision, and hearing;
  • HIV/STD testing and counseling;
  • Substance abuse assessment and referrals; and
  • Health education.
Program Fact sheet