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Treatment Just in Time

A little girl came on board today with a terrible ear infection. It was not the first time she had the infection, but her parents were too afraid to travel far to take her to a doctor. They are undocumented, and they would have to pass through 3 check points in the desert to get to a doctor. If her infection wasn’t caught and treated, she could have lost her hearing.

Stable health care

A young man I have been treating here at the Pediatric Center of Excellence for the past year came in today for an exam. He has insulin dependent diabetes. His family is uninsured, and has been moving between domestic violence shelters in the county, a total of four moves in the last year. Through the medical team, patient advocate, and care coordination we have been able to provide him with insulin and testing supplies along with one on one education with the clinic's certified diabetes educator. Through the mobile program, he has been able to keep in contact with his medical home throughout his trying year. 

Easing a passing


We are always there for parents who are facing a tragic situation. Their infant was daughter was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, and the prognosis is very poor. The child was admitted to hospice nursing care and chose the mobile clinic as her medical home.  We are doing all we can to provide care and support.

Southern Arizona

The Chiracahua Mountains dominate the horizon over a vista of scrub grass and cactus in Cochise County, Arizona, an area equivalent to the combined size of Connecticut and Rhode Island.  In this rural borderland, families with children had few options for pediatric care.


Jonathan Melk, a young doctor in Phoenix, was just considering a move to become the sole pediatrician for the Chiracahua Community Health Center, when Hurricane Katrina hit hard in 2005. He joined a caravan of Children’s Health Fund mobile clinics heading to New Orleans, and formulated a plan as he worked alongside health care professionals from across the National Network who travelled to Louisiana to provide emergency assistance.

“I decided to go to Chiricahua and petition Children’s Health Fund to take us on as a new program site,” remembers Dr. Melk.  “I wanted to build a true medical home for children in a place that had never seen anything like one before.”


The region experiences myriad challenges, including poverty, lack of specialty care, absence of public transportation, early school failure, teen pregnancy, a high percentage of fractured families, and severely strained educational and other public resources. A shortage of mental health services complicates the provision of comprehensive health care.

The needs here could not be greater. Many children have special health care needs and diagnoses that include cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism spectrum disorder, genetic syndromes, seizure disorders, traumatic injuries and speech/developmental disorders.


Chiricahua Community Health Center became the partner for Children’s Health Fund’s 22nd program.  Home base for the mobile clinic, which travels out into the desert bringing health care to remote villages and migrant worker camps, is a new Pediatric Center of Excellence that Dr. Melk and his adopted community have built in record time over the past few years.  

Now the children of Chiricahua have first-class pediatric services.  “It’s what they deserve,” says Dr. Melk. “It’s what all children deserve.”

Home Institution/Affiliation 
Chiracahua Community Health Centers
Available services 
  • Comprehensive prevention and primary care services
  • Specialized care coordination and medical services for children with special health care needs
  • Chronic disease management, including a diabetes prevention and treatment initiative
  • Specialized women’s health care & prenatal care
  • Dental Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Case Management for domestic violence
  • Community garden and other wellness initiatives
Program Fact sheet