AUSTIN (KXAN) — Beginning on Tuesday, Dell Children’s Medical Center will team up with Texas Women Infants and Children (WIC) to provide healthcare. The partnership targets those who are under-served in the community.
“There are a lot of things to be excited and proud of in a city like Austin, that’s growing so fast but that could also have some unintended consequences — one of them being gentrification,” said Dr. Michael Hole, the pediatrician onboard at Dell Children’s Health Express. “A lot of families who are hardworking are no longer able to live in areas that have higher property costs now, and that means they’re being pushed farther and farther away from the brick and mortar medical clinics and social services agencies that were once in their backyards.”
The physician and assistant professor of pediatrics, population health, and public policy at Dell Medical School and LBJ School of Public Affairs said gentrification can create health issues by creating obstacles for those who may now live in rural areas with less access to healthcare providers.
“That means that mobile health clinics have a role to play in traveling out to the communities where children are living, where children are going to school, where people are working now to make sure we can find and get care to people who otherwise might not have a chance to get to the doctor,” he said.
The Northwest Austin WIC office serves approximately 5,000 clients a month, and every first Tuesday of the month WIC clients will have access to a mobile health clinic on-site.
“This is such an important partnership that will help families whose children are at critical periods of development by providing the nutrition they need now, and education that establishes the foundation for a lifetime of good health,” Edgar Curtis, the state’s WIC director said in a statement. “This is precisely what the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children is in place for.”
The mobile clinic offers pediatric care and social work service providers onboard and services including well-child checks such as immunizations and acute care.
“Every child deserves high-quality health care. At Dell Children’s, it’s our honor to partner with WIC and broaden our reach to an underserved community. This monthly service will ensure that more children have direct access to comprehensive, ongoing health care services,” Chris Born, president of Dell Children’s Medical Center said in a statement.
The mobile health clinic also partnered with the Central Texas Food Bank and The Salvation Army Austin. The clinic is appointment-based. Those interested can contact Dell Children’s or WIC officials.