The New Orleans Children’s Health Project is privileged to serve as a pilot study site for the Children’s Health Fund’s Healthy and Ready to Learn initiative. Using the Children’s Health Fund “Health Barriers to Learning Screening form,” we conduct community screenings to identify eight proven health barriers to learning: vision impairment, hearing loss, uncontrolled asthma, dental pain, hunger/food insecurity, severe social stress and mental health/behavioral health conditions. This screening form is also used in conjunction with standardized pediatric growth and development questionnaires for younger kids and a comprehensive adolescent screener for older kids.
The community screening team consists of a case manager paired with pediatric resident physicians and/or a staff pediatrician. Our screenings have been conducted at various schools throughout Orleans Parish, at community health fairs (including in partnership with the local food bank), in partnership with Catholic Charities immigrant and refugee services and at the Honduran consulate.
If health barriers to learning or developmental concerns are identified during the screening process, our team assists the family to link them back to their pediatrician or necessary services (i.e. to the food bank or to a school counselor). Many of the children do not have pediatricians, in which case we connect them to our clinics for further care and management.