Next Stop, Lake County
I’m thrilled to announce that Mobile Care Chicago is launching a new Asthma Van in 2023, dedicated to delivering asthma and allergy care to children in Lake County! The Lake County Asthma Van, which is slated for launch in February 2023, is our first full-time mobile clinic based outside of the Chicago area. The mobile unit is a collaborative project between our staff and the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, a charitable organization based in Lake County.
Mobile Care Chicago’s journey into Lake County began over 10 years ago. Thanks to funding from the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, MCC conducted an extensive needs assessment of Lake County in 2010 and 2011. The data strongly suggested that pediatric asthma specialists were not available for families who were on Medicaid or were uninsured. Furthermore, families faced similar access barriers to those in Chicago: long distances to reach adequate medical care, inability to take time off of work, dependence on urgent/emergency care, and clinics that charged large fees for appointments. A lot has happened since 2011, but the basic reality expressed in our report, unfortunately, has not substantially changed.
Over my tenure at MCC, we’ve repeatedly tried to launch a Lake County Asthma Van, only for funding or infrastructure to stop us in our tracks. As you likely know, a full-time mobile unit costs about $400,000 per year to operate, and MCC takes sustainability very seriously. We do not want to enroll someone in medical care for a chronic condition if we are not confident that we will be able to sustain their good health year-over-year for the length of their childhood.
I was blessed to meet Helen and Mike Redding in 2014, when they were also looking to launch an Asthma Van. Since that time, we’ve worked together on many education and awareness projects. Neither of our two organizations could sustain a Lake County Asthma Van on our own, but together we have been fortunate enough to secure funding for the new mobile unit, as well as the first year of expenses. It would take too long in this message to introduce Helen and Mike in a way that would do justice to their incredible passion for this project, as well as the years of effort they’ve put into making this dream a reality. The achievement of launching this mobile unit carries greater meaning for having brought it to fruition together.
We are already reaching out to school districts in Lake County to let them know that free, high quality asthma and allergy care will soon be available. I know some folks on this email thread have connections to school districts in Lake County, and if you think your school district could benefit I’d appreciate if you’d email me so we can talk. Our initial focus is Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion, but I recognize that the need is much greater than that and I look forward to speaking with schools, hospital systems, and primary care offices who may be looking for a place to make referrals.
Finally, thank you for your support! As I said, this project is the fulfillment of over a decade of work, not to mention the 23 years during which your contributions allowed us to create our nationally-recognized model of care. On behalf of everyone here at Mobile Care Chicago, thanks for making it all possible.