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Joshua's asthma had forced him to quit the trumpet. Now he's playing in the marching band! See his story below.


Breathing easy
How Joshua got his trumpet back

Joshua struggled with severe asthma in elementary school. He was often in the hospital for a week at a time, and he was absent so much he had to repeat two grades. Joshua’s mom lived in fear of the many things that could trigger a deadly asthma attack. His care was so demanding that his mom had to leave her job.  For years, Joshua and his family felt imprisoned by his condition. That changed when Joshua’s teacher connected him with Dr. John Carlson on our mobile medical clinic. Dr. Carlson, an asthma and allergy specialist, saw Joshua right at school every week when the mobile clinic visited. Joshua is missing a lot less school, and better yet, his asthma is finally under control. He can play the trumpet again, and he’s joined his high school marching band. This year, with his family and Dr. Carlson watching, Joshua even marched in the Mardi Gras parade.

New Orleans

After rushing mobile medical clinics to the Gulf to provide crisis relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Children’s Health Fund stayed to provide essential healthcare long after the initial recovery efforts. The New Orleans mobile program supports the community in building for the future by bringing compassionate, comprehensive health care to approximately 1,000 of the area’s most vulnerable children each year, regardless of their ability to pay. “We are treating the sickest of the sick,” says Dr. John Carlson, the program’s medical director.  We target the kids with multiple health challenges and stick with them over time to ensure they stay healthy.”


In the three parishes the New Orleans program serves—Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines—a lack of insurance, a lack of public transportation, and an acute shortage of doctors and other health care professionals compound the difficulties many low-income children face in trying to obtain quality health care.  These challenges, which existed even before Hurricane Katrina, increased in the aftermath as an influx of immigrants who came to rebuild the city brought their families too.

The New Orleans program helps children overcome these barriers by bringing its medical and mental health teams right to schools and community centers in underserved neighborhoods on both the East and West banks of the Mississippi River.  In addition, the program’s medical director, Dr. John Carlson, travels over 60 miles to the isolated peninsula of Plaquemines Parish each month.  On this southernmost Louisiana outpost, jutting into the Gulf of Mexico, Dr. Carlson provides ongoing specialty care for a group of low-income, chronically ill children who might not otherwise get the help they desperately need.


Because children in New Orleans suffer from asthma at rates that are double and triple the national average, the program collaborates with schools and school districts to find and treat students with uncontrolled asthma symptoms.  Caring for New Orleans’ neediest young people also means providing services in Spanish, since a growing number of the city’s low-income residents come from Spanish-speaking households.  The New Orleans program maintains a Spanish-language phone line and depends on its bilingual case manager, Carlos Naranjo, who is also a certified medical translator, to anchor it services for this growing population.

Home Institution/Affiliation 
Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Available services 
  • Comprehensive medical care, including physical examinations and immunizations;
  • Management of acute and chronic illnesses;
  • Allergy testing, lung function testing, and asthma management;
  • Family planning, including pelvic exams for females;
  • Patient education and community outreach;
  • Mental health assessments;
  • Family, individual and group counseling;
  • Diabetes screening and weight management;
  • Case management and mental health education; and
  • Referrals to subspeciality care.
Program Fact sheet