After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Children’s Health Fund arrived in the Gulf Coast to deliver essential healthcare services through their disaster relief response initiative. More than 10 years later, the New Orleans Children’s Health Project (NOCHP), a collaboration between Children’s Health Fund and Tulane University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, continues to deliver compassionate, high-quality care to disadvantaged and vulnerable children in Orleans and Jefferson parishes where they live, play, and learn. Services include preventative health screenings, intensive case management, comprehensive primary care, and specialty care.
To reach the children with the most difficult barriers to health care access, NOCHP has developed the following core initiatives:
The New Orleans Children’s Health Project has always been fully committed to providing care for all children in our community who otherwise lack access to basic primary care. One of the largest pediatric populations in our community that does not have access to primary care is the growing community of immigrant and refugee children. These children have been an important focus of our work over the last ten years, and our dedication to improving their standard of care grows exponentially each year.
Historically, the New Orleans area has had long-standing ties to Honduras and other Central American countries. In the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Hispanic community grew tremendously as many Hispanic adults relocated to this area to help rebuild the city. The Hispanic community has doubled over the last decade as many families have settled in the New Orleans area.
Since 2013, Louisiana, and the Greater New Orleans area in particular, has become a destination for thousands of refugee children from Central America fleeing violent and dangerous conditions in their home countries. Many of these children, known as unaccompanied children, make the journey from their home countries to Louisiana by themselves, seeking reunification with their parents in the New Orleans area. This surge of refugee children is a reflection of the hundreds of thousands of children who have entered the United States just since 2013 looking for refuge from gang violence and economic instability. In 2013, Louisiana was 10th in the nation for the greatest influx of Central American refugee children by state. We also saw the largest increase in our baseline pediatric immigrant community than any other state in the country. This humanitarian crisis has disproportionately affected Louisiana, and we at the New Orleans Children’s Health Project are committed to being the leaders in our state to step up to these challenges and ensure that the medical and social needs of these children are met.
Traumatic exposure to gang violence, family separation, death of loved ones, food insecurity, and homelessness are a few of the common conditions that plague the daily lives of our patients. These children are not eligible for Medicaid health insurance in the state of Louisiana, and we therefore, fight daily battles to try to find sub-specialty medical services for our patients, many of whom have chronic health conditions.
We at the New Orleans Children’s Health project seek to provide a true medical home for these children; a culturally-competent, thorough primary care model that not only provides acute and chronic primary medical care services, but also links these children to legal, educational, sub-specialty and other social services. We use a standardized intake process for all new immigrant children that thoroughly assess the child’s medical, social, legal, education and mental health needs.
Asthma exacerbations can impede a child’s ability to learn, play and exercise. As the most common chronic illness of childhood, asthma is responsible for millions of school absences per year. Asthma also disproportionately affects children who grow up in poverty and is one of the leading causes of pediatric hospitalizations and ER visits in the Greater New Orleans area.
In an effort to reduce the number of asthma exacerbations requiring hospitalization and improve asthma control, the New Orleans Children’s Health Project has partnered with two local school districts (ReNEW in Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish Public School System) to provide asthma management and education. Our staff and resident physicians visit these schools weekly to assess students with asthma. Direct clinical care is provided on-site at the school-based health centers to many children who have numerous barriers that prevent them from visiting their pediatrician.
Additionally, the NOCHP team has helped train and implement a free EpiPens4Schools program in over 20 local schools, providing thousands of students with guaranteed access to life-saving medications.
For other inquiries, please call 504-988-0545 .