Charter Oak Health Center sits in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood – one of the city’s poorest. In an area where the median household income hovers around $17,000, Lorraine Reardon sees health issues – obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol – that are connected, at least partially, to poor diet. Reardon started work at the center as a dietitian in 2002. She focused on people who were HIV-positive, or people with AIDS, but health center doctors began referring patients to her regardless of their diagnosis. “A lot of people are trying to make ends meet with $200 a month,” Reardon said.
Three months after a new children’s advocacy office opened at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Alice Rosenthal has conquered bedbugs, kept utilities from being shut off, and helped get adequate school support for a kid with severe medical needs. “We’re off to a fast, great start,” said Rosenthal, the attorney on site for the venture. The office is a partnership between the hospital and the Hartford-based Center for Children’s Advocacy, a nonprofit that advocates for the legal rights of children who suffer from abuse, neglect or lack of access to critical services. The partnership takes a holistic approach to care by tackling not only kids’ medical problems, but the issues at home and school that might be preventing them from getting well. Rosenthal, representing the Center for Children’s Advocacy, works with the hospital staff to identify and resolve those issues.