February 29, 2024
Dr.Lisa Gwynn and patient
The 40-foot pediatric medical bus


UHealth's Mobile Clinic Delivers Doctors, Medical Solutions and Social Services to Kids in Need

University of Miami pediatricians have a 25-year history of putting comprehensive community health care services on wheels.

In an era when society often struggles to provide adequate medical services to families in need, UHealth — the University of Miami Health System — is celebrating more than a quarter-century of sending pediatric doctors, nurses and basic and critical facilities into the field where the demand is greatest.

Established in 1992 as a response to Hurricane Andrew, the University of Miami Pediatric Mobile Clinic provides well-visits, sports physicals, immunizations, management of chronic conditions, urgent care, mental health and social work.

“A lot of the kids that live in our community don’t have access to care,” says Dr. Lisa Gwynn, associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics & Clinical Public Health Sciences and medical director of the Pediatric Mobile Clinic. “The program is a gem, and I’m privileged to be a part of it all. It’s a really worthwhile project.”

Major activities of the 40-foot pediatric medical bus include:

  • Direct primary medical care for nearly 3,000 children a year who are without health insurance and access to medical providers; linking those in need to medical specialists;
  • Mental health services for children and families;
  • Prevention, education and support to reduce obesity and tobacco use and other preventable diseases;
  • Assisting parents and grandparents with social service, case management and educational attainment issues;
  • Educating caregivers, community members and stakeholders about the specific health and developmental needs of children;
  • Training future health care providers to meet the challenges of serving disadvantaged children.

“We have a dedicated phone line so patients can call when we’re going to be in their neighborhood and schedule an appointment,” Dr. Gwynn says. “The bus runs just like a pediatrics office, so we have providers — physicians and nurse practitioners — that have a schedule and they see 15 to 20 patients a day. We do walk-ins as well if they come in sick.”

Parents are usually surprised by the comprehensive nature of care available on the bus. For example, the bus is internet-equipped, giving physicians access to electronic medical records. “We can easily access lab results and previous notes,” according to Dr. Gwynn. “We’ve also been able to expand specialty services through telehealth. If a child needs a cardiologist and they don’t have the means to go see one, we have a cardiologist who can do an off-site video consultation.

“We see kids who, unfortunately, don’t have access to food,” she continues. “Or perhaps the mother is in a dangerous environment in their living quarters and we have to try to get them shelter. We also have kids who show up that are neglected, and we have to call the Department of Children and Families. Our social worker does a great job of connecting families with available community resources.”

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305-243-6407   |   www.pediatricmobileclinic.com

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