As part of a Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant project through the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Jessica Hane, MD, a fourth-year Internal Medicine and Pediatrics resident at the University of Minnesota, began working with Simpson Housing Services about a year ago to form a partnership between the U of M residency program and Simpson to improve the health of children who have experienced housing insecurity or homelessness. Through the project Dr. Hane and Simpson Housing Services Early Childhood Program Manager Nedra Robinson held sessions every one to two months for young parents (ages 16-24, many who recently moved out of the shelter into stable housing at Simpson) to chat with pediatric and med-peds residents in a more convenient and relaxed environment. The sessions focused on childhood nutrition, fever in a child, when to take your child to the doctor, vaccines, and the importance of reading.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic started, Dr. Hane realized the project needed to adapt. After working with the AAP to change the project to better serve the families at Simpson. Simpson Housing staff hung up posters from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) encouraging hand hygiene and social distancing. Staff also passed out hand soap, paper towels, and cleaning products supplied through the grant to all the families. Robinson recognized that many families were worried about running out of formula and had questions about breastfeeding during the pandemic. She and her staff bought extra formula to pass out to families. Dr. Hane provided guidance from the AAP about breastfeeding, formula feeding, and COVID-19 specific questions. In order to maintain social distancing, Dr. Hane provided a presentation addressing the most common questions from Simpson Housing and Robinson shared this with her staff.