- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2001

This doctors office/dental facility is unlike most others in the District: It makes house calls.
The Medivan, a medical office on wheels, is staffed with nurses and pediatricians who will provide health care to uninsured children in Northeast and Southeast starting this summer.
The Rotary Club of Washington D.C. yesterday gave at least 50 community group representatives a sneak preview of this 37-foot mobile medical unit, complete with a satellite dish on its roof and advanced computers inside.
At its annual luncheon yesterday, the Rotary Club contributed $150,000 toward the purchase of the Medivan, which costs about $280,000. Other sponsors include the D.C. Department of Health and the Childrens National Medical Center, which will pick up the rest of the bill as well as fund the services.
"The Rotary Club sees this as an opportunity to help children at risk in the District," said club president David Hamod. "The Medivan will focus on immunizations, asthma and dental hygiene, identified as being the most needed medical services for children at risk."
The Medivans medical director will be Dr. Gloria WilderBrathwaite, a pediatrician who already runs one mobile medical unit sponsored by the Childrens Health Fund and the Childrens National Medical Center.
"This [new van] is going to become the medical home for the Districts uninsured children," Dr. WilderBrathwaite said.
The old van, which has been in service for nine years, sees about 25 uninsured families a day in Northeast and Southeast, and has seen more than 25,000 patients. With the new van, Dr. WilderBrathwaite intends to double that number.
Equipment and services in the new van include a complete dental office, in addition to a doctors office, because dental care has been identified as one of the most-needed medical services for children, the pediatrician said.
Computers and telephones that will allow personnel to speak to specialists across the nation and access records also will be available.
Dr. WilderBrathwaite said another part of the Medivan project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of preventive medicine. "We want to show what happens when you take care of yourself from the beginning," she said.
On a small, informal scale, she already has seen it work.
"We've had families who used to be in the emergency room every week and now havent been in there in a year after seeing us," Dr. WilderBrathwaite said.
For more information on where and when the van provides medical services in Wards 5, 7 and 8, call 202/884-3033.


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