This doctor-on-call is Gloria WilderBrathwaite, a pediatrician and the Medical Director of the Children's Health Project, a clinic on wheels that brings medical care, compassion and respect to some of the most impoverished communities in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Gloria says, "My approach to patient care is respect: total respect for the struggle that mothers and fathers have in raising their children. We primarily serve uninsured families. A lot of people assume that our families are only folks who receive public assistance. They forget about the families who work everyday and struggle to meet their health care needs."
The clinic travels to a different neighborhood five days a week, bringing much-needed health care to over 3,500 families a year. The clinic's objective is to deliver the same level of service that patients would receive at the best hospitals. One of the traveling clinicians who works with Dr. Gloria says, "The van really does serve as a lifeline for children in these communities. For so many of these families [it is] a matter of life or death."
The office is small, and the neighborhoods are tough, but there are no signs of stopping Dr. Gloria! She says, "In the eyes of every child is a pool of potential, and all you have to do is reach into that child's heart and that potential just unlocks. You see it during every exam. We could see 1,000 kids every day and never touch a soul. I'd rather see 25 and get a hug."