It has been an amazingly busy week for Ginger Ryan and Chiricahua Community Health Centers.
The celebration, which attracted hundreds to the clinic featured the ribbon cutting for the new mobile unit along with food, music and entertainment.
The keynote speech on Saturday was given by Irwin Redliner, M.D., who along with singer Paul Simon founded the Children’s Health Fund.
On Saturday, Irwin Redliner, MD, President and Co-Founder of the Children's Health Fund (CHF), a national organization that advocates for and develops primary care programs for disadvantaged and medically underserved children, joined Jennifer "Ginger" Ryan, CEO of Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc., a federally qualified community health center that was founded in 1996, to launch the Southern Arizona Children's Health Project (SACHP).
The partnership provides an enhanced medical and dental home to the underserved children and families of the vast rural US/Mexico borderlands of Cochise County, Arizona. Many children with special health care needs are served in the project, whose diagnoses include cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism spectrum disorder, genetic syndromes, seizure disorders, traumatic injuries and speech/developmental disorders. Additionally, SACHP will launch the first pediatric mobile medical program to focus on children and their families to Southeast Cochise County in Arizona, a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area.
In addition to the new mobile medical clinic, support from the Children's Health Fund is funding an innovative Pediatric Therapy Playroom for children with special health care needs. The therapy playroom, designed with the support of local speech and physical therapists, consists of a large, safe, indoor play area furnished with equipment that addresses the developmental and therapy needs for this population. The Playroom will provide a state-of-the-art space for families to work closely with therapists to improve the developmental outcomes for their child. Currently, some families travel as far as Tucson for these necessary services.
"Chiricahua Community Health Center is such a tremendous partner for us in addressing the special health needs, both chronic and acute, among underserved children in Cochise County," Dr. Redlener said, "We are thrilled also to be launching a new medical mobile clinic, which will be able to visit schools and other remote areas, providing comprehensive care to children who face many barriers to medical care, from a dearth of local physicians to a lack of local health centers."
"The region experiences a myriad of challenges, including poverty, lack of specialty care, absence of public transportation, a high percentage of fractured families, and severely strained educational and public resources," said Dr. Ryan. "I'm delighted to be working in partnership with the Children's Health Fund as we expand health and mental health services at a time when the current health services shortage has reached a critical point in public health."
Services are provided through the infrastructure of Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc.'s (CCHCI) community health center model, which includes fixed clinical sites, mobile medical/dental services, community outreach and innovative prevention programs. Services available include comprehensive prevention and primary care services, specialized care coordination and medical services for children with special health care needs, dental and mental health care.