Rotary Club Of Chattanooga Partners With Siskin Children's Institute To Provide Pediatric Feeding Clinic

Monday, August 3, 2020
Pictured left to right: Doug Thompson, Rotary Club Projects co-chair;
Dr. Elaine Swafford, Chattanooga Rotary Club president; Derek Bullard, Siskin Children’s Institute, CEO; Dr. Melissa Gonzalez, Siskin Children’s Institute; and Don McDowell, Rotary Club Projects co-chair
Pictured left to right: Doug Thompson, Rotary Club Projects co-chair; Dr. Elaine Swafford, Chattanooga Rotary Club president; Derek Bullard, Siskin Children’s Institute, CEO; Dr. Melissa Gonzalez, Siskin Children’s Institute; and Don McDowell, Rotary Club Projects co-chair
- photo by Chattanooga Rotary Club
The Rotary Club of Chattanooga is partnering with Siskin Children’s Institute to provide a pediatric feeding clinic to serve children, caregivers and parents in 10 Southeast Tennessee counties. Rotary President Elaine Swafford presented a check for $35,000 to SCI’s President and CEO Derek Bullard to fund the effort.  The new clinic will be named The Rotary Feeding Clinic at Siskin Children’s Institute.

Officials said, "Pediatric feeding disorders occur in approximately 30 percent of typically developing children and in up to 80 percent of children with developmental needs.
These children might have been born prematurely, have food allergies, gastrointestinal concerns or oral motor dysfunction.  Addressing the challenge requires medical treatment through a six- to eight-week intensive program requiring the child to be observed and participate in therapy multiple times each week.

"Prior to establishment of Chattanooga’s feeding clinic, the closest comprehensive feeding clinic was in Atlanta.  This distance and month-long wait list made it extremely difficult for local families to get treatment for their children.  Currently, treatment is only feasible for local families who have means and parents with very flexible schedules.  Participation in such an intensive medical treatment in Atlanta is virtually impossible for Chattanooga families in reduced circumstances."

“The Rotary Club of Chattanooga is truly excited to be part of this important initiative that will serve so many,” said Ms. Swafford. “We believe that the interdisciplinary pediatric feeding center will be a real game changer for many local families throughout the region.”  

Mr. Bullard added, “Data indicates that establishing a comprehensive feeding clinic will change the lives of hundreds of local children who are at risk of long-term, compromised development and poor future health outcomes.  At SCI, the care of children always comes first.  The partnership with Rotary allows us to assist families across 10 counties who are desperate to find the necessary services for their children with eating disorders.”

The Rotary Club of Chattanooga provides annual grants via its Club Projects Committee.  Rotary Ms. Swafford noted that during the past six years, the club has provided grants totaling over $255,000, with the vast majority of funding supporting local projects.

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