FORT WORTH — A new pediatric clinic on wheels will take healthcare to Fort Worth families that struggle to get it.The 40-foot-long mobile clinic brings healthcare professionals from the University of North Texas Health Science Center to children and families in several neighborhoods. The clinic was unveiled in south Fort Worth on Tuesday.“Our kids are our future,” said Mayor Betsy Price, who was among local leaders who introduced the clinic to the Morningside Middle School community. “It’s critical that we focus on keeping kids healthy.” The unit, parked in front of the school Tuesday, will bring vaccinations and exams directly to people who need them, Price said, adding that it will help people who have trouble getting off work or paying for doctor visits.The unit, with two treatment rooms, a lab and a pharmacy, will serve patients in communities including the Morningside Middle School area, Stop Six, Como and Northside.“I think it is a great opportunity for our kids — especially when we look at health and wellness and what it means to academic achievement,” said Fort Worth school district Superintendent Walter Dansby, who attended the unveiling.Children are growing up without access to healthcare, creating anxiety and affecting their work, Dansby said.“My hope is that this is one of those things that will alleviate that for a lot of kids across the city,” he said.Patients will get free care in the mobile unit, which will be parked at schools, churches and community centers Monday through Thursday.“Each day of the week, we will be in a different community,” said Dr. Christina Robinson, a pediatrician with UNT Health Science Center who will see patients in the unit.Robinson, who grew up in Stop Six, said the work allows her to give back to her hometown. “It’s a brand-new venture for our city, and we are very excited,” she said.Laura Standish, the mobile clinic’s program director and a registered nurse, said the science center has spread the word to parents at health fairs and immunization clinics.“Our goal is to really become part of the community,” Standish said.Standish said several factors keep families from seeking healthcare: financial hardship, language barriers, and a lack of transportation, insurance and U.S. citizenship.Estela Cardoza, 43, a mother of three students in Fort Worth schools, was impressed by the unit.“It’s good — very good,” she said in Spanish. “This is going to help a lot.”Cardoza’s sister, Blanca, was also impressed.“They are going to help parents who don’t have insurance, who don’t have money for emergencies,” she said in Spanish. “They are going to help for free. It is very good help for parents.”Money from foundations, including the Rainwater Charitable Foundation and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, helped pay for the clinic.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1