In Case of Emergency, Call Tío Miguel
There are people who go above and beyond and leave a lasting imprint on the world around them. If you ask the families at Children’s Health Fund’s New Orleans Children’s Health Project (NOCHP), they will tell you there is no better example than Miguel Alonso Solares.
As Case Manager at NOCHP, Miguel knows that our families’ needs extend beyond the crucial healthcare we provide. Whether it’s navigating a complex healthcare system in order to get a sick child to a specialist, or addressing homelessness, Miguel ensures patient’s needs are met.
To illustrate just how profound and varied our patient’s needs are, Miguel recounts an experience he had with a family of four. After an extensive assessment, the family revealed that they had all been sleeping on one air mattress. Miguel immediately jumped into action: he contacted community resources and found a new box spring and mattress the very same day. He then transported them himself, after work hours, using his uncle’s pickup truck. And this was far from the only issue he addressed that day: Miguel typically receives over 22 calls and 18 voicemails within three hours of arriving at the office.
This kind of dedication and concern has prompted the children he sees to give him the nickname “Tío Miguel”—“Uncle Miguel” in Spanish.
What drives Miguel’s passion to help? As a young boy, Miguel accompanied his mother who worked cleaning a medical facility in their native Cuba. Inspired by the doctors around him, Miguel pursued a medical degree and became a primary care physician.
In 2014, Miguel came to the US with a visa to provide a better life for his family. His move to New Orleans came with a sacrifice, he had to leave the practice of medicine behind.
Miguel got a job working in the community, but his knowledge of medicine was discovered by his neighbor, Carlos, who worked at NOCHP. He brought Miguel in to interview for the Patient Representative position. Miguel was hired and immediately began taking English lessons through Catholic Charities.
Recently a mother at NOCHP received a deportation notice. Panicked, she called the one person she knew could help -- and who could be trusted with her legal status. That very day, Miguel got her an appointment at the Loyola University Law Clinic. The order was revoked and she no longer lives in terror of being separated from her young children.
Miguel’s dedication means that on any given day, he might be delivering wheelchairs to homes; screening children for food insecurity and other “invisible” issues; pursuing further training to increase his skills; or, as he has been doing this holiday season, spending weekends going door-to-door delivering baskets he creates from donations from local partners. Without question, his work at The New Orleans Children’s Health Project is changing lives for the better.