- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2004

Physicians, politicians, community leaders and parents attended a Valentine’s Day celebration in Southeast yesterday to dedicate a new Georgetown University Kids Mobile Medical Clinic.

With help from the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the state-of-the-art doctor’s office on wheels will offer comprehensive health care to under-served communities in the District.

Hundreds of adults and little people packed a conference room inside the Arthur Capper-Carrollsburg Multipurpose Center on Fifth Street in Southeast to nibble on Valentine’s Day cookies, sip juice and coffee and meet some of the people who made it possible for Georgetown University Hospital to get the $300,000 set of wheels.

“This is great,” said Judy Henson, a mother of four who lives in the Carrollsburg Public Housing Community in Southeast.

“Ever since the mobile medical clinic has been coming [to this neighborhood], I’ve been bringing my children here,” Ms. Henson, 52, said. “I’m very pleased with the care. They’re excellent doctors. It’s so convenient and within walking distance for those who don’t have transportation. [Although] we have medical coverage, parents who don’t can still bring their children here for good medical care.”

The master of ceremonies for the two-hour program, Dr. Matthew D. Levy, the medical director of community pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital, introduced the speakers, including Dr. David B. Nelson, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital; Laurel Schumm, program manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities; Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose; and Sam Tramel, executive director of South Washington West of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative.

“In the District, not every child has access to good health care,” Dr. Levy said, “so we go into neighborhoods where there’s poor access and provide quality health care.

“Our biggest focus is medical education,” he said. “The more families know about their health, they can make better-informed decisions. And we [doctors] can focus on wellness and prevention.”

In 1992, Georgetown University Hospital in Northwest launched the first comprehensive mobile medical clinic program in the District. Since then, the program has recorded more than 27,000 patient visits and served more than 3,500 children, Dr. Levy said.

The mission of the mobile clinic program, he said, is to provide full health care service to patients who are younger than 21 and have no nearby medical services.

After the speeches, guests toured the massive Kids Mobile Medical Clinic. The white van’s exterior features a picture of clown Ronald McDonald wearing a stethoscope and the Georgetown University insignia.

The van has two examination rooms, the larger one to serve teens and the other for younger children; a nurse’s station where doctors can confer in private; and a small restroom.

“It was a joy to participate in what is a wonderful partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Georgetown Kids Mobile Medical Clinic,” said Debbie Wargo, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, D.C. “I think we are all in the business of helping children, and this shows what a synergetic partnership can accomplish.”

For more information about the Kids Mobile Medical Clinic, call 202/444-8888.

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