Posted by Philip Poole on 2010-06-17

Participants in the Moody Miracle League in suburban Birmingham received an added benefit at their games June 12. 

Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, in conjunction with United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Greater Birmingham, hosted its first mobile health clinic for children and adults with developmental disabilities.  The clinic offered free screenings, primary care services and referrals.  In addition, education was also provided regarding proper nutrition, exercise and sun protection. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this service to the Moody Miracle League players,” said Jill Cunningham, Samford’s project director for Mobile Health Services for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities and associate professor.

The clinic was made possible by a grant from the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (ACDD) and funds from the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing.  Anne Schmidt, Birmingham UCP medical director, and Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing faculty and students conducted the screenings. 

The Mobile Health Project for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities was designed to meet two primary goals—it combats barriers to care that individuals with developmental disabilities often face, such as transportation, and teaches others how to care for this special patient population. 

“While individuals with developmental disabilities are at risk for the same ailments and conditions as the general population, they often are at specific risk for secondary conditions that can adversely affect their health and quality of life,” said Cunningham.  “We believe it is important to provide essential services in a convenient location.” 

The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing’s Mobile Wellness Van, which features two ai- conditioned and medically equipped exam rooms, water, sewer and remote power generation, makes it easy to take medical care to those where they need it most, Cunningham noted.

Samford’s nursing school has taken a special interest in ensuring that students are prepared to care for individuals with developmental disabilities and this clinic presents a unique opportunity for them to obtain essential hands on experience, Cunningham explained. Not only did students provide screenings, but they also served as “buddies” on the field. 

“Many do not realize that there is a national shortage of healthcare providers trained to care for persons with developmental disabilities.  The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing strongly believes in the importance of providing students with the opportunity to refine their ability to deliver quality health care to this population,” said Margaret Findlay, project coordinator and nursing professor.

More than 20 Miracle League players participated in the screenings, and additional mobile health clinics are scheduled for other locations in late 2010.

This was the first use of the mobile van since it was refurbished and housed at Samford, Cunningham said. The van originally was obtained through a collaborative grant with Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing and Birmingham-based Baptist Health Systems, but had been used in recent years by BHS. Earlier, Samford had used the van for a health care project on Chandler Mountain in North Alabama.  

For more information about the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing Mobile Health Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities project, contact Dr. Jill Cunningham at (205) 726-2733.

About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.