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.
KEEPING AN EYE ON ASTHMA AND OBESITY
“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.”
OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO LEARNING
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.
THE CLINIC THEY NEVER HAD
“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.”