Cedars-Sinai and Coach: Bringing the Care to the Kids

Tens of thousands of children from across Los Angeles County have received some sorely needed medical care – delivered in a special way from Cedars-Sinai.

As part of the medical center’s century-long commitment to the community, the COACH for Kids and Their Families® program rolls out two fully equipped mobile medical units to schools, community agencies, homeless shelters and public housing developments. There, Cedars-Sinai experts offer quality medical care free of charge on a regular basis.

This vital medical and case management program of the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center also provides youngsters and their families: dental screenings and referrals; mental health care and family service referrals; and educational and early-intervention nutrition services.  

“Everyone on the COACH team is passionate and dedicated to caring for this community. Children need a healthy family to be healthy, but families have other issues besides medical ones,” said Program Director Michele Rigsby Pauley, RN, MSN, CPNP. “We’ve seen so many kids with dental problems that weren’t addressed. So in 2003 we added a dental hygienist to the COACH team. Later on, one after another child we checked was not eating properly, so we saw the need for a nutrition program.  Filling the need, that’s how we’ve grown.”

The highly trained COACH team includes: a pediatrician, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, health educators, social workers and community outreach coordinators from Cedars-Sinai's staff.  Heading the team are Arthur K. Cho, MD, medical director of the COACH for Kids® program and an attending physician in pediatric services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; and Rigsby Pauley, who handles programs and clinical operations for the full range of health services.

COACH for Kids® staff members are bilingual, which helps them provide the best care and build strong relationships with their Spanish-speaking clients.

The program, which has been serving Los Angeles neighborhoods since 1994 and brought care to more than 100,000 children, also works closely with more than 200 public and private community organizations, including Children’s Health Fund, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Upward Bound House.

For children with illnesses beyond the scope of the mobile medical unit, COACH for Kids® nurse practitioners can make referrals to partner community agencies.

Because families also need referrals to an array of local agencies and resources that can improve the quality of their lives and their health, a team of COACH for Kids® experts also assists with this.

Cedars-Sinai has demonstrated a deep commitment to serving its community for more than 100 years. The COACH for Kids program is just one part of its $502.4 million Community Benefit financial contribution for 2010. It helps the medical center increase access to healthcare for vulnerable, underserved populations; assist communities to become healthier through prevention programs and services; conduct research that leads to innovative treatments for a broad spectrum of diseases; and offer education to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.