December 9, 2010

The Children's Health Fund: Fixing the Health Care Epidemic in Michigan One Child at a Time

On Monday invited me to attend a kick-off event for a new Detroit-based mobile health unit that is being funded by the Children's Health Fund (CHF) and Henry Ford Health System with the help of corporate sponsors like Clorox.

As a mother who has been effected by multiple job losses and the fear of being without health insurance, even for a short period of time, I can not image the distress that thousands of Detroit families face in not being able to get health care for their children. So it seemed like a good fit for me and what I believe, to attend the event.

I really never stopped to consider that the ability to get to and from medical facilities was a barrier to getting health care. Combine that with the shortage of Detroit doctors, and there is much cause for concern. While at the event I was shocked to learn Detroit child health indicators are among the worst in the nation! That crisis means that thousands of children have gone without access to comprehensive care, placing their long-term health and well-being at risk.

That is why the Children's Health Project of Detroit has launched a new mobile medical clinic. The unit will visit local Detroit area schools and community locations weekly to deliver health care services such as primary care, preventative care, immunizations and vision and dental exams to approximately 1,000 to 1,500 children a year. In a way, the project helps us to move back to the concept that "it takes a village to raise a child," involving the community as a whole - physicians, teachers, parents and students - to build on-going relationships for solid, healthy lifestyles for the children who need it most.

The (CHF), founded by singer/songwriter Paul Simon and pediatrician/advocate Dr. Irwin Redlener, who were both in attendance Monday, is a leading provider of mobile-based health care for homeless and low-income children and their families. Their Detroit mobile unit was impressive to say the least. With multiple exam rooms and facilities, it clearly will be a great way to reach children in need. Further that with the help of funding from American Idol Gives Back, and corporate sponsors like Clorox, who donated Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for doctors and staff to use on the unit, Children's Health Fund of Detroit will be successful in beginning to wipe out the poor health care conditions for disadvantaged children and their families in Detroit

The charity is a bit different than many simply because individuals can not volunteer to donate time. As Ann Arbor, and more specifically Washtenaw County has the lowest unemployment rate, individuals here are in the perfect position to help Detroit, our state, and low-income children who are in need though. Through the partnership between Clorox and the Children's Health Fund on Facebook we can Connect Kids to Care to help raise funds. Individuals can also make financial donations at the CHF website to help ensure the continued success of the program.

Senator Debbie Stabenow, who spoke at the event, said it best when she said, “Times are tough and so are we!”  We need to step up, to help one another whenever possible, and this is one way we can help make a difference, and make a happier, healthier state for the future of our state - Our children!

Disclosure:  I received a stipend to attend the press conference from Clorox and TheMotherhood. The opinions of the event and the event participants are that of my own.

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