MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Division of Community Pediatrics Responds to Families in Need During COVID-19 Pandemic

June 11, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Division of Community Pediatrics, committed to delivering quality clinical services and programming to the most vulnerable children and families in Washington, D.C., amplified its services to help families experiencing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Since March 16, MedStar Georgetown’s Community Pediatrics team has provided families with navigation services, including social and legal support, to connect families with essential resources. The team also delivered 10,000 meals, 150 care packages and grocery store gift cards to patient families.

“We quickly recognized the disproportionate impact this pandemic has on our families' ability to access food and basic supplies, as well as heightened social, educational and mental health needs,” says Dr. Janine Rethy, division chief of Community Pediatrics. “We urgently redirected significant efforts and resources to identify and meet those needs.”

Throughout the pandemic, the Division of Community Pediatrics has continued to meet the needs of patients with in-person visits for urgent care and well child-care, prioritizing those children who need vaccinations. The team also expanded their scope of services to provide scheduled secure telehealth visits for children with special healthcare needs, such as asthma, ADHD and behavioral health concerns.

The Division of Community Pediatrics also expanded its family navigation and care coordination services for children and adolescents with complex health and social service needs, boosted mental health support, and provided intensive support to connect community and public benefits resources—including referrals to legal services with its medical-legal partner, Health Justice Alliance.

Additionally, the team distributed weekly mental health videos to partnering schools that focused on dealing with grief and anxiety during the pandemic, the videos have been incorporated into distance learning curriculums.

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® Focused on FITNESS program has also created and disseminated educational resources and videos on mindfulness and at-home yoga; these materials have too been shared with partnering schools to be incorporated into distance learning courses.

“We will not waver in our commitment to provide care and support for our patients as the disparities heightened by this pandemic continue to affect our community,” Dr. Rethy said. “We are grateful for the generosity of our community members and philanthropic partners such has Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC®, CVS Health, Share Our Strength, Power of 10, and the individual donors in our community who have helped make our outreach possible.”

For 27 years the Division of Community Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital has devoted itself to providing access to evidence-based, comprehensive, coordinated health care to children who need it most throughout the Washington, D,C. area.  Programs include the KID Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® Focused on FITNESS program, and two school-based health centers at DC Public Schools: Theodore Roosevelt High School and Anacostia High School.

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