Bloom Pediatrics is also expanding its reach to children who may never have the chance to walk through the doors of the practice.
In the fall of 2022, a friend who works at a hospital in downtown Detroit called Dr. Schafer, asking about plans for the Vaccine Machine. When her friend suggested that it be used to host a vaccine clinic at a nearby homeless shelter, Dr. Schafer once again said yes to a good cause and stepped into the unknown. Although they had never used the vehicle for anything other than COVID-19 vaccines, the practice retooled the van and got it on the road for a new purpose.
“There were kids who couldn’t go to school unless they got vaccines,” she said. “So we went down and we vaccinated those kids.”
While there, she noticed that these kids needed more than vaccines. They needed regular visits from a pediatrician. Bloom Pediatrics stepped up to serve this community.
“We’ve created a whole mobile clinic,” she said. “It turns out a Chrysler Pacifica with no seats in it holds a lot of stuff. It’s pretty big. So now the Vaccine Machine is tasked with going to the homeless shelter. We go once a month. We do wellness visits for the kids that are there.”
The mobile clinic offers the children most of what they would see at the practice.
“We bring a scale. We do blood pressure; we do vision and hearing testing. We do lead testing and CBCs,” she said. “We basically do everything that we do in a visit in our office, but we do it onsite at the clinic.”
As a result, a new population of children that Bloom likely would not have been able to serve are now getting regular visits from a pediatrician, setting them up for better health in the long term. The staff from Bloom has also formed lasting relationships with people in a different part of the community.
“When I think of a homeless shelter, I think of a very transient place,” she said. “As it turns out, the people in this homeless shelter are there for a minute. We’ve come to know the families. We’re friends now.”