Open House Celebrates Pediatric Mobile Health Clinic

From pilot project to essential community connection, Hennepin Healthcare’s Pediatric Mobile Health Clinic hit the ground running to address a need when immunization rates began to plummet during the pandemic. On Wednesday, April 27 – just in time for National Infant Immunization Week – Hennepin Healthcare will celebrate this successful program and the ongoing heroic measures taken to ensure the health of children and families in the community.

What:              Hennepin Healthcare’s Pediatric Mobile Health Clinic’s Open House
Where:            NE Corner of 8th St. & Chicago Ave., Mpls. on HCMC’s campus
When:             Wednesday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Pediatrician Dr. Dawn Martin still recalls when early in the pandemic the CDC and MDH published data showing a precipitous decrease in the number of vaccinations children were receiving. “I knew we had to bring healthcare to the community and meet our patients where they are,” she said. “Our communities, who already experience barriers to healthcare, transportation, language, and childcare were even more impacted by the pandemic. The pandemic both exposed and exacerbated these barriers.”

“The pandemic changed much of the way society functions,” explains Sheyanga Beecher, APRN, CNP, Pediatrics at Hennepin Healthcare. “We learned that we could have nearly everything – groceries, over-the-counter medicines, even toilet paper delivered to our doorstep. So why not healthcare?”

Beecher and Dr. Martin realize that the pandemic was very difficult for many families, but that it also created an opportunity for our health system to face the reality that there are some families still beyond the grasp of our safety net.

“I’ve learned a lot about the barriers that families face in initiating and then maintaining their healthcare,” said Beecher. “This understanding has helped me not only in my one-on-one interactions with patients, but also helped me reflect on ways that our program can affect meaningful change to patients and communities.”

The goal of the Pediatric Mobile Health Clinic has never been to duplicate services that already exist, but to supplement or enhance services. There’s been an overwhelming response to this outreach that’s developed into successful partnerships with families, other Health and Human Services departments and staff, and community stakeholders (schools, Head Start Centers, BIPOC organizations). The Pediatric Mobile Health Clinic has expanded care from mobile runs to pop-up clinics, screening and referrals and other outreach activities.

“The community, our patients, partner organizations and public health have been grateful and enthusiastically supportive of this work,” said Dr. Martin. “They have helped us adapt, better understand and meet the needs of our communities, and this project has been successful because families, community organizations and people throughout Hennepin Healthcare worked together!”

Read more about the Pediatric Mobile Health Clinic at Hennepin Healthcare’s hereforlife.blog.

Vaccines are like bike helmets

Dr. Colianni and her daughter
Dr. Colianni and Elena

In addition to being a pediatrician, Dr. Sonja Colianni is a mom who loves her children.

She recently brought her daughter Elena in for a check-up, which included immunizations.

“I vaccinate my children because it is something simple I can do to protect them from harm, and to help protect the children around them,” Dr. Colianni explains. “I view vaccines like bike helmets and seat belts – well worth using because they can prevent serious harm from things we encounter every day.”

Dr. Colianni recommends the same for her patients. “It is clear to me that the benefit of vaccines far outweigh any possible risks. While I have seen several children harmed by vaccine-preventable diseases, I have never seen a negative vaccine reaction that would prevent me from giving them.”

If you have concerns about vaccines, she recommends that you have an honest talk with your child’s physician about your concerns and ask for reliable sources of information.

“As pediatricians and parents it’s our job to protect the health of all children, not just our own. We take that job very seriously.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Colianni or any of the pediatricians at Hennepin County Medical Center, call 612.873.6963.