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Ritenour Celebrates Partnership and Ribbon-Cutting of Healthy Kids Express Diabetes Mobile Unit

Ritenour celebrated its partnership with St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Healthy Kids Express Program during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its pediatric diabetes mobile unit on May 15, 2023 in front of Hoech Middle School. 

The Healthy Kids Express Diabetes Mobile Unit is the nation’s first of its kind to bring comprehensive diabetes care to children and adolescents at their schools, according to officials with St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Ritenour Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride said the district’s partnership with Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine is important to the district’s mission of educating Every Student, Every Day.

“We know our partnership is absolutely critical for our students to make academic gains as we continue serving the whole child,” Kilbride said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

Ritenour students living with diabetes and pre-diabetes conditions who are under the care of Washington University physicians will get additional treatment, management and support for their condition by St. Louis Children’s Hospital health care professionals inside the mobile unit at their school. The mobile unit’s staff includes an endocrinologist, nurse practitioners specializing in diabetes treatment and management, and community health professionals who educate patients about diabetes prevention, nutrition and disease management. 

“Pediatric diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases among children and affects every aspect of a child’s life, including academic performance, social interactions and emotional well-being,” said St. Louis Children’s Hospital endocrinologist Dr. Ana Maria Arbelaez, who is the medical director of the mobile diabetes unit.

During the last year, the Healthy Kids Express diabetes health care professionals have provided diabetes training to all Ritenour school nurses. Since February, Ritenour students, who are under the care of Washington University physicians, have been getting additional care in the mobile unit during convenient visits at their school during the school day.

The Healthy Kids Express Diabetes Mobile Unit was funded by the Siagh Foundation and several generous donors. It currently serves seven school districts in the St. Louis metro area. 

Ritenour also partners with Healthy Kids Express for its pediatric mobile asthma and dental vans that visit Ritenour schools to provide needed services to students.