|Murfreesboro City Schools has partnered with Middle Tennessee Medical Center in an initiative to bring health care to area children.
A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday, July 22, at 5 p.m. for MTMC and Murfreesboro City Schools mobile health unit.
The unit is part of city school’s initiative to “serve the whole child,” a theme Director of Schools Linda Gilbert has adopted into the school system in her time at Murfreesboro City Schools.
“Serving the whole child means going outside the school walls,” Health Outreach Coordinator for Murfreesboro City Schools, Kathy Ferrell, said. “The goal is to remove barriers to learning. If a child is sick, that’s a barrier.”
As of mid-July, the unit has provided four direct service dates, serving a total of 36 patients so far including nine sick visits. Throughout the school year to unit will rotate through city schools Tuesday through Friday and schedule community screening at additional locations one day per month.
“Our primary targets are children and their families who struggle to obtain healthcare because of barriers,” MTMC Vice President of Missions, Timm Glover, said.
Glover said the idea arose as a collaborative effort between MTMC’s President and CEO, Gordon B. Ferguson, and senior leadership examining how the needs of the community were being met in addition to Gilbert’s vision to serve children in the school system outside of the classroom.
“We had this vision, she had this vision and it all came together,” Glover said.
Staffing for the unit is provided through Guidance Center and Primary Care and Hope Clinics through further collaborative partnerships.
“It’s a program that’s going to make a huge difference in the community,” Primary Care and Hope Clinic CEO, Lisa Terry, said.
The unit is made up of two exam rooms and a waiting room in addition to table and chairs to be set up outside the unit.
“It gives us a good opportunity to interact with the family,” Ferrell insisted. Ferrell said interaction with the families is one of the more important parts of what the unit will allow workers to do.
Another is the ability, once an individual is examined, to immediately provide them with any additional help deemed necessary by keeping contact and additional information of all medical partners on hand and contacting them immediately.
MTMC’s Ferguson spotlighted Ferrell’s dedication and hands on involvement in making the mobile health unit a reality.
“She can do everything from drive this unit and set it up to shaking the hands of the individuals in the community,” Ferguson said.
The underlying theme of the ceremony was the idea of partnership with all parties involved insisting the vision could not be accomplished without the other.
“It is a great privilege to be able to offer this kind of help to the community and we cannot do it alone,” Ferguson said.
“We are working for the whole child and we cannot do that without our partners,” Gilbert stressed.