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Shade Tree opens pediatric clinic

Posted by on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 in Around the Medical Center, Summer 2023 .

From left, Shade Tree Clinic volunteers and medical students Jessica Hanks and Alex Landry; medical director Maya Neeley, MD; co-director of the pediatric clinic, Simone Herzberg; medical student Nada Elyssad; co-director of the pediatric clinic, Shauna McLaughlin; and medical director Cooper Lloyd, MD, at the opening of the Shade Tree pediatric clinic.

Shade Tree Clinic, which since 2005 has provided primary care to underserved and uninsured adults in Nashville, opened a pediatric clinic in January, the result of nearly a yearlong effort on the part of medical and nursing students and their faculty mentors.

The new monthly clinic serves adolescents ages 13-17 who are predominantly underserved and uninsured, either due to lack of eligibility for TennCare (i.e., children who were not born in the U.S. and do not meet TennCare requirements) or who are eligible but whose families need help navigating the TennCare application process.

Shade Tree Clinic serves as a primary care home for those adolescents who do not have access and as a bridge to those patients who are deemed eligible by the team of social workers. The clinic offers holistic care to adolescents by providing vaccinations, medications, social work assessments, lab tests and connections to other community resources.

The new clinic is starting as a small pilot population of about 20 patients from the Shade Tree community (children of current patients or their relatives), and its founders hope to eventually expand to younger pediatric age groups and serve as a clinical partner for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and other community partners for children who do not have insurance, said fourth-year medical student Shauna McLaughlin, who served as co-executive director of Shade Tree Clinic along with MD/PhD candidate Simone Herzberg.

“Launching a pediatric clinic has been a learning process for all of us as we have gone through many steps to ensure we can safely add this age group to Shade Tree with all the additional nuances that come with caring for the pediatric population.”