New mobile health clinic to help area kids


BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (August 22, 2012)—For 1,455 children throughout the Wisconsin Ho-Chunk Nation, life is about to get a bit healthier. The mobile health clinic is the first of its kind in Indian Country, and will make it easier for Ho-Chunk children in more remote communities to get the medical care and services they need. Children’s Health Fund has provided the clinic to the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health, which will staff and operate the “doctor’s office on wheels.” The clinic was funded by Idol Gives Back Foundation, a philanthropic organization established by producers of the television program American Idol.

Children’s Health Fund Co-founder and President Irwin Redlener, M.D., will join Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer, Vice President Greg Blackdeer, and Executive Director of Historic Preservation Robert Mann in dedicating the mobile health clinic on Saturday, September 1 at 1 p.m. CST during the Ho-Chunk Nation Labor Day Pow-Wow at the Andrew Blackhawk Memorial Pow-Wow Grounds.

The custom-designed, state-of-the-art, 39-foot mobile clinic includes two private patient care rooms, a waiting room, a nurse’s station, and a procedure room, and it is fully equipped to provide all aspects of primary care for children.

"Our greatest successes in language, culture, and health begin with our young ones and we believe the mobile health clinic will play a vital role in our children's future," said President Greendeer. "We look forward to seeing the mobile health clinic pull up to our surrounding communities and be able to provide high quality health care for our children."

Health statistics for Ho-Chunk Nation children reveal a high prevalence of asthma and obesity, putting children at risk for diabetes and other long-term health consequences. In the Ho-Chunk Nation, the obesity rate is five times the national average and 25% of Ho-Chunk adults have diabetes.

“Children’s Health Fund is on the frontlines providing health care in communities throughout the U.S. where children face severe difficulty accessing care. We meet this challenge by bringing medical and health services directly to children and families,” said Dr. Redlener. “We are excited about our new partnership with the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health—making it our 25th program—and its potential to reduce barriers to health care that prevent children from reaching their full potential.”

The target population for the mobile health clinic includes newborns up through young adults. Offering comprehensive primary care and acute care, the mobile clinic is also equipped to provide laboratory services, vision and hearing screening, immunizations, and other preventive care. Patient education regarding well-baby care, asthma management and obesity prevention will be key areas of focus.

The mobile health clinic will travel great distances in Wisconsin from its home base in Black River Falls to remote communities, making trips of up to 120 miles each way. Health services will begin in the fall at satellite health offices in Nekoosa, Tomah, and Wittenberg. Additionally, services will be available at Three River House in La Crosse. Appointments can be made by calling the mobile health clinic at 1.888.552.7889.

Dr. Alec Thundercloud, Ho-Chunk Nation Executive Director of Health, will oversee the mobile health unit. Dr. Ben Boardman will serve as the medical director for the clinic and will be joined by Kyle Berra, Director of Medical Services and Jess Thill, Community Health Director/Community Health Nurse Supervisor, as part of the mobile health care team.

The Ho-Chunk Nation health clinic is funded by the Idol Gives Back Foundation, the philanthropic organization established by the producers of American Idol and Fox to raise money and awareness to serve children and their families in need throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world.

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