Marcy Doderer: Status quo not acceptable
Arkansas ranks 40th in child health and well-being, according to Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s.
“Systemic issues are affecting our children – issues like infant mortality, child abuse and the fact that a family’s ZIP code matters as much or more as genetics when predicting child health,” she says. “We simply cannot stand by and accept the current state of child health in Arkansas. Thankfully, many Arkansans and partners across the state agree. With their help, we’ve made progress transforming health care delivery for the children of our state with the goal of effectively building a statewide network of services. Now, through a comprehensive strategic planning process, we are broadening our focus to advance child health in every pocket of our state.”
The Arkansas Children’s Hospital Jonesboro clinic, which includes a full-time pediatric cardiologist and full-time audiologist, is expanding care throughout northeast Arkansas, and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Pine Bluff clinic, in partnership with Jefferson Regional Medical Center, is scheduled to open in 2020 and treat 12,000 patients its first year.
Dental outreach efforts in southwest Arkansas have reached thousands of underserved children living in poverty, and expansion of equipment, programs and personnel is on the agenda for Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale.
“We must continue to break down the barriers that prevent children from having quick, easy access to medical care,” Doderer says. “We are incredibly grateful to those Arkansans who have joined us early on this mission. They see what we are realizing: this work takes partnerships. It will require us to unite and collaborate in new and innovative ways.”
Doderer says Arkansas Children’s is listening to community stakeholders and patient families to help determine missing pieces of the child health puzzle in Arkansas.
“The team is currently engaged in a strategic planning process we believe will drive impactful change in child health statewide,” she says. “Improving child health in our state will require a tremendous amount of time, innovative thought, partnerships and investment,” she says. “At Arkansas Children’s, we will not stop our pursuit of improving child health until Arkansas is the safest, healthiest place to be a child.”