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EVERYDAY STORIES

Above and beyond
Passing the Test

A new immigrant, recently referred to the Deerfield Clinic from a local shelter, arrived with his wife and four children. The family tested positive for tuberculosis and was referred for further examinations. Further tests were negative so we prescribed medicine to protect them from further problems from the disease. The examinations also identified a heart condition in the man's wife who was referred to a cardiologist. Additionally, the children had incomplete immunization records and were given a vaccination schedule to expedite completion.  During a subsequent visit, the father looked distressingly at a stack of papers. When we learned he was applying for an HVAC license, we helped him complete the application. The family comes regularly to receive their TB medication and vaccinations. The mother is under the care of a cardiologist and the father is awaiting the HVAC license examination.

Stabilizing her Emotions
Lifting Her Up

An undocumented immigrant was exhibiting signs of depression. Her public assistance (PA) case was recently closed, resulting in the impending removal from the shelter. After initial assessment by our social worker, we referred her to our psychiatrist for further evaluation and prescribed medication, which stabilized her mood. With the assistance of the social worker, she was able to reopen her PA case, enroll her son in pre-school, and resolve her housing situation. Once those concrete needs were met, we focused on her emotional health. She has been seeing the social worker for over a year, remains on her medication and recently moved in with family. Additionally, she is taking English and GED classes, and working with a lawyer to resolve her immigration status.  Best of all, she feels more in control of her emotions and is taking great care of her son!

Dental Intervention
Filling the Need

Recently our dentist on the mobile dental clinic – Dr. Manali Kanitkar – came across two severe cases: 3-year old Maya and 4-year old Jayden. Both children were visiting the dentist for the first time and had 8 and 12 cavities, respectively. In both cases, Dr. Kanitkar realized in speaking with their parents that they were unaware of the effects of juice on children’s teeth and overall proper oral hygiene.  Dr. Kanitkar took the opportunity to educate both families on these topics and referred the children for comprehensive oral/dental rehabilitation, which includes sedation, fillings and extractions where necessary.

OTHER PROGRAMS

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NYC Homeless

More than 25 years ago, pediatrician Irwin Redlener, M.D., and his friend, singer/songwriter Paul Simon paid a visit to New York City homeless shelters and were deeply troubled by the sight of families struggling in crowded, dirty facilities.  The visit inspired them to come up with an innovative solution – a mobile medical program that would go to where families in need were so they could received quality care regardless of their circumstances in life.  Founded in 1987, the New York Children’s Health Project, was the first program in what would eventually become Children’s Health Fund’s national network of programs.

Today, Children’s Health Fund’s original program brings comprehensive medical care to over 4,000 children and family members through more than 20,000 health care visits each year.  Its mobile medical and dental teams visit several family homeless and domestic violence shelters in four New York City boroughs.  On days when mobile clinics do not stop at a particular shelter, families can always visit the program’s fixed-site Deerfield Child and Family Health Clinic in the South Bronx.  The program also runs small clinics in shelters.

Homeless needs

The homeless population’s needs have never been greater.  In 2013, city shelters surpassed all-time occupancy records with over 50,000 individuals seeking refuge on a given night – more than 22,000 of them children.

Living in the chaotic immediacy of homelessness, health care can slip through the cracks. Shelters are often far from families’ original neighborhoods and previous health care providers.  Many homeless families lack regular access to transportation and are often caught up in the desperate need to find work and permanent shelter. 

The New York Children’s Health Project cuts through this tumult and provides ready access to quality comprehensive medical, mental health and oral health services. It also provides emergency food packages and runs hands-on nutrition, exercise and microwave cooking classes.  These enriching activities help children and adults experiencing homelessness not only cope with their circumstances but also gain skills that will help them stay healthier in good times and bad.

The New York Children’s Health Project’s compassionate team of professionals has helped turn chaos and despair into renewed hope for many families.

As one mother gratefully commented, “This program has pumped life back into me. The people who work here made me say to myself, ‘Hello, Gloria, wake up.  Welcome back to the world.  You’re going to be all right.’”

Home Institution/Affiliation 
Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein School of Medicine, New York, NY
Available services 
  • Primary care for children, adolescents and adults;
  • Women's health services and prenatal care;
  • Mental health services;
  • Oral health services;
  • HIV testing, counseling and care;
  • Substance abuse prevention services and referrals;
  • Case management and entitlements assistance;
  • Case management and entitlements assistance;
  • Nutrition counseling and education;
  • Referral management together with transportation assistance;
  • Access to specialty and inpatient care;
  • Health education and outreach; and
  • Access 24/7 to medical providers through a toll-free 800 number.
Program Fact sheet