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Ensuring young lives stay healthy
By Larry Warner / May 30, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

Ensuring everyone has access to the care they need in order to live healthy lives is one of our strategic priorities. Grants to Hasbro Children’s Hospital will encourage delivery in new, creative ways. And that will make a significant difference in the lives of some of the state’s most vulnerable children – foster children and children with vision-related impairments. 

Our grant for Hasbro’s Fostering Health Program will enable the hospital to meet the special health needs of at least 100 more foster children than it is currently caring for. Hasbro describes the program as providing a timely, comprehensive family-centered medical home to any foster child who does not have a primary care provider. As a result of this grant, the program have longer office hours and expand its care coordination efforts, as well as provide direct access to behavioral health services. 

Nurse Practitioner Colleen Deems co-directs the Fostering Health Clinic with Hasbro pediatrician Carol Lewis. “We serve an extremely vulnerable population with complex needs. And the need for services is growing. We are seeing an influx of infants and younger children entering into the foster care system because of the growing opioid epidemic,” she says.

Despite the trauma many foster children experience, their resilience is awe-inspiring, says Deems. “These children are so welcoming and accepting of love. Many have moved around a lot and have issues with attachment. But at the clinic, they get consistent, ongoing support and engagement. It helps them to move forward and see a future of possibilities for themselves.”

Our second grant to Hasbro comes from our Program for the Blind. The hospital’s pediatric ophthalmology clinic will purchase imaging equipment to document, treat and monitor the progression of retina and optic nerve abnormalities – major causes of blindness in children. The eye clinic serves almost 4,000 children annually with everything routine vision screening to highly complex care of conditions such as congenital malformation of the eye socket.

The grant also delivers on our goal of addressing disparities in healthcare. Many of the patients come from homes in the state’s lowest-income neighborhoods; others come from Rhode Island’s refugee population, which may suffer from eye disease or trauma that is rarely seen in the United States, such as rubella-induced cataracts. 

Portions of this material from Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s “Healthy Futures” publication are used with permission from Lifespan Health System. 

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