“What got me into pediatrics was the idea of wanting to help and serve others. It’s rooted in this feeling that we are all connected. All a mom, a dad, or grandma, or grandpa really wants is for their children to be healthy, to be happy, and to be loved. That's all people want. ”
Dr. Kemi Alli told us that’s what inspired her to become a pediatrician. As the Chief Executive Officer at the Henry J. Austin Health Center, a federally qualified health center in Trenton, New Jersey, she helps those most in need. Funded by Red Nose Day and the Children’s Health Fund (CHF), the Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJAHC) delivers high-quality health care. Working with community partners, their team provides multi-disciplinary collaborative care, including primary care, behavioral health care, oral health care, and clinical pharmacy services.
“Most health centers are in communities that have been disenfranchised and often have real deep pockets of poverty,” Dr. Alli explains. “Trenton happens to be one of those cities in New Jersey. And so our community health center is here to provide services for those who need it most.”
Building Trust in the Community
Even though the city of Trenton is fairly small – only seven and a half square miles – there’s a tremendous need for mobile health units. Many in the community don’t have relationships with healthcare institutions, and bringing services to individuals makes healthcare more accessible and also helps build trust.
“That trust building is really key for those communities that are very vulnerable, that have been disenfranchised and are impoverished. Bringing the services to them is a way to bridge that. We often bring our mobile health unit to a location that is trusted — a community center or a school.”
Bringing Health Care to the People Who Need It
HJAHC’s mobile health units are making health care more accessible for families like Natequa and her son Tajier.
As a single mother without a car, Natequa didn’t have a reliable way to get her son to the doctor for appointments and check-ups.
“Prior to visiting the mobile health unit, I would take a cab or catch a ride, if I could, to get him to the doctor. I didn't always have transportation. Being able to come to his school, which is not that far from my house, really benefits me because I can get the health service that Taji needs to have a healthy future,” says Natequa.
Supporting the Holistic Needs of Patients
Red Nose Day’s support helps Alli and HJAHC focus on the holistic needs of patients. “A healthy future means providing all those things that children need to grow up to be healthy,” Alli explains. “Part of it is health care, but part of it is also economic and social empowerment. What I love about community health centers is that we do more than just provide health services — we provide services that wrap around a patient. For example, we provide transportation to help our patients get to the health center, interpretation services, social work services, case management services, nutrition services. The list goes on.”
“Every Drop in a Pond Can Eventually Make a Lake.”
Alli says that Red Nose Day supporters make a real difference to their patients and the community.
“Red Nose Day and the Children's Health Fund allow us to provide so much more than we would otherwise. Without them, we couldn't do some of what we do in the way in which we do it,” she says. “Every drop in a pond can eventually make a lake. Nothing is too small. It makes a huge impact when you gather all of those donations together in order to change the trajectory of a child's life. If I help a child be healthy and thrive and grow, not only am I helping that child but generations to come. Every major road starts with one small step after another. Every contribution is worthwhile.”
Help us ensure a healthy future for all children by supporting Red Nose Day.