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The doctor is out

Last Modified: April 18, 2019

Family Medicine, Women & Children

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is a doctor’s office on wheels—delivering Parkview Physicians Group – Pediatrics providers to northeast Indiana neighborhoods. This partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities, means that children 0 – 18 years have more convenient access to health services, such as wellness visits and shots. The state-of-the-art care mobile features two patient exam rooms, a laboratory and a patient education center.

In an effort to raise awareness about these services, Tony GiaQuinta, MD, PPG ­– Pediatrics, recently delivered the following remarks:

“I’m going to start by recognizing the coolest person I know, my wife, Sarah. We went through residency together, and that was really fun for me, because it was the culmination of what I thought was most important to be a good doctor, learning how to diagnose and treat disease. And truly this is important.

But about halfway through, Sarah came to the realization that we were skipping a major step, which is, what are we doing to prevent disease and illness. She was way less interested in treating asthmatics, and more interested in figuring out why certain kids, pathophysiology being equal, wheezed more than others.

Instead of medicine, which focuses on one individual at a time, Sarah wanted to focus on the population, which takes into account a wide array of factors: behavioral, environmental, economic, cultural, social justice.  

So, she decided to stop practicing medicine. Boom, done. And she went back to school. She is now a month away from completing her masters in public health to help tackle these complex questions.

Take infant mortality, for example. We are not doing a good job addressing infant mortality. Which is ridiculous, because, I mean we know what causes infant mortality.

Sarah drives down to Indianapolis two weekdays a week, and comes home super amped up about public health, challenging me, and pushing me to look at my pediatric practice through a different lens.

There is nothing a public health leader likes more than a good analogy to describe the importance of what they do. And it’s one of those analogies that I’d like to share with you now to describe the intervention that Parkview has dedicated itself to.

It’s the story of a man fishing. As he’s casting his line out into the water, he sees a man drowning. He jumps in and pulls the man out. About 20 minutes later, he sees a woman drowning. Again, he jumps in and pulls the woman out. This keeps happening, until finally, the fisherman decides to walk upstream and investigate. Around the river bend, he discovers that heavy rain has washed out part of a path that runs alongside the river, and joggers are falling into the water. The fisherman puts a sign up in front of the washed out section of the path to stop the joggers and prevent them from falling in. 

The upstream analogy describes primary prevention—a key concept in population health or the public health approach. This is a pediatrician’s jam. Don’t get me wrong, we love talking about teething, temper tantrums and the amazing array of colors and consistency of your child’s poop. But we screen like your child’s life, and our community, depend on it.

Because it does! Anemia and high lead levels can impact a child’s development for life. An unsafe sleep environment, absolutely the same. Screening for obesity, development, hearing, vision, depression, I need to do all of these things in a visit if I really want to make our kids healthier, and provide our community with a brighter future. But I need to first get to these kids and their families, and if you work two jobs, don’t have gas money or a car, or simply don’t know how to find a good doctor, this can be hard.  

So, through hard work, teamwork, a vision, and the amazing generosity of Ronald McDonald Charities of Northeast Indiana, we came up with the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

This care unit is moving upstream, driving to where our kids are falling in, or falling behind, to prevent them from getting swept away by the water. There’s an ancient Greek proverb that states, ‘A society grows great, when its citizens plant trees, in whose shade, they know they shall never sit.’ Folks, at the end of the day, we can never lose focus on the fact that growing healthy children is the most important task of our community. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is here to help.”

Find the Care Mobile

Ronald McDonald Care Mobile delivers no-charge services to families without medical insurance. Find out when the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will be in your area by checking our calendar of Classes and Events. Walk-in or schedule an appointment by calling 1-877-PPG-TODAY (774-8632). You can also request the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile at a specific location. Make your request here.


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