How You Can Help Find out what's on Dr. Gloria's Mobile Medical Unit's Wish List.
For More Information, Please Contact: The Children's Health Fund (CHF) Dr. Gloria WilderBrathwaite heads the Children's Health Project of D.C., part of CHF's national network of 16 pediatric programs in urban and rural communities. Over the past 15 years, CHF has provided essential care and services to nearly 300,000 homeless and medically underserved children. Contact: The Children's Health Fund 317 East 64th Street New York, NY 10021 PH: 1-800-535-7448 www.childrenshealthfund.org
The Doctor Is Always In
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."
How it Began
Raised by a single mother on public assistance in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood, Dr. Gloria grew up much like the children she treats today. Dr. Gloria was the first member of her family to graduate from college and then medical school. Early in her career, she was faced with a difficult decision—should she follow the money or her heart?
"I had been offered a position making substantial amounts of money. When I asked [my mother if I] should I go into private practice she said, 'Gloria, you've never done what's easy. You've always done what's right. Why stop now?'" Dr. Gloria laughs. "Money is not the most important thing in life, and I think when you push away the dollar signs and you pull yourself closer to what's in your heart, you will always be okay."
Happily married to her high school sweetheart and a mother of four, Dr. Gloria lets her heart lead the way.
How You Can Help
Want to help Dr. Gloria's program? See what's on the D.C. Children's Health Project wish list then visit the Children's Health Fund website to learn about more volunteer opportunities.
Children's Over the Counter Medications (Cortaid, Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, Miconazole)
Small clothing items
For More Information, Please Contact: The Children's Health Fund 317 East 64th Street New York, NY 10021 PH: 1-800-535-7448 www.childrenshealthfund.org
Printed from Oprah.com on Wednesday, June 19, 2013