Carolina For the Kids to fund new clinic

Carolina For the Kids has pledged $2.5 million to fund a new pediatric primary care clinic for UNC Children’s. The new outpatient facility will improve care in more ways than one.

Carolina For the Kids to fund new clinic click to enlarge Dr. Wesley Burks joined CFTK board members to announce plans for the new clinic at the Kilometers For the Kids 5K race on Nov. 22.
Carolina For the Kids to fund new clinic click to enlarge UNC mascot Ramses leads the crowd through their warm-ups before the 5K run.

Carolina For the Kids, the student-run philanthropic organization formerly known as the UNC Dance Marathon, has announced plans to fund a new pediatric continuity clinic for UNC Children’s. The price tag for the 10,000 sq. ft. clinical space will be about $2.5 million, which CFTK organizers plan to raise over the next five years.

“This gift is significant not only in terms of the dollar amount but also in the impact it will have on patient care,” says N.C. Children’s Hospital chief physician, Wesley Burks, MD, who joined CFTK executive board members in announcing plans for the clinic at the organization’s Kilometers For the Kids 5K race on Nov. 22. “Having an off-site clinic for our general pediatrics program will help us better care for an increasing number of children in Chapel Hill and the surrounding communities.”

UNC Children’s general pediatrics and adolescent medicine clinic serves as the primary care practice for approximately 5,000 children each year. Providers in the clinic focus on preventive and well-child care, provide same-day appointments for sick patients, and offer programs for children with developmental delays and behavioral problems, among other things.

“The new clinic will allow all of this care to take place in a location away from the medical center that is easy for families to access and friendly for children,” says Michael Steiner, MD, medical director of outpatient clinics and chief of general pediatrics and adolescent medicine.

CFTK executive director, Evan Sherwood, says the idea for the clinic originated in the organization’s desire to help more families.

“We approached the hospital about more ways we could get involved with them, and this opportunity just kind of fell into our laps,” explains Sherwood. “It was really a joint effort between us and UNC Children’s to make this project come to life.”

The UNC Children’s Outpatient Center, the multi-specialty clinic located on the ground floor of N.C. Children’s Hospital, accounted for more than 50,000 patient visits in the past year, including about 12,000 primary care visits. It is currently at capacity in terms of outpatient volume with no space to expand at UNC Hospitals.

“Moving primary care offsite will increase capacity for specialty care visits by about 25 to 30 percent,” projects Dr. Steiner. “We’re looking at being able to offer as many as 15,000 more specialty outpatient visits at the Children’s Hospital. This will reduce appointment wait times for patients who require specialty care, many of whom see multiple specialists at each appointment.”

The CFTK-funded primary care clinic will also benefit UNC Children’s education mission. Faculty in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine train about 55 general pediatrics residents and 10 family medicine residents through rotations each a year. They also offer shadowing opportunities through recruitment and retention programs for undergraduate medical school candidates from underrepresented minority groups.

“Through Carolina For the Kids, we have undergrad students raising money to support the education of pediatrics residents,” says Steiner. “It’s no stretch of the imagination to expect the new clinic will become the country’s premier residency training clinic in pediatrics.”

A location for the new offsite primary care clinic, which will be named by CFTK at a later date, is being investigated. In the meantime, CFTK is gearing up for another successful fundraising year.

“Our mission is to overcome childhood illness for patients served by N.C. Children’s Hospital by providing major medical, surgical, and emotional support,” says CFTK publicity chair, Brendan Leonard. “Funding the clinic will give us the opportunity to fulfill our mission by helping more patients and families than ever before—and in more ways than one.”

Media contact:  ,  (984) 974-8870

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