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Virtua Expands Children’s Mobile Services by 70% with Addition of Second Specially Designed Van

June 13, 2024 - The program-on-wheels visits under-resourced communities in three counties, providing free health screenings, physicals, flu shots, blood lead-level testing, diapers & more for young children

June 13, 2024

Virtua Health will expand its capacity to help young children and families in need, with the addition of a second unique vehicle offering vital health services. The new van will enable Virtua’s Pediatric Mobile Services Program to provide 70% more services to families in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties. The number of children’s visits is expected to rise from 6,000 to about 10,000 annually.

Virtua celebrated this expansion with tours of both vehicles and festivities featuring preschoolers and their teachers.

Benefits of Expansion:
“There is an enormous need in South Jersey for these services, in every type of community, from urban to rural,” said Maria Emerson, Virtua’s director of pediatric rehabilitation. She was an early advocate to create the program, after providing in-home services to children for two decades.

With the second vehicle and an expanded staff that now numbers 14 members, the program will:

  • Provide multiple services during the same visit. For instance, the program can now give flu shots or sports physicals on one van, and provide lead testing, developmental screenings, or other services on the other vehicle.
  • Visit more sites. The program will operate six days a week rather than the original five-day schedule, and can visit two sites per day instead of one.

The staff includes bi-lingual speakers of Spanish and Portuguese, which helps overcome language barriers faced by many families in need.

The Need:
Many South Jersey children don’t receive important, routine health services, due to lack of access and other social and economic barriers.

However, catching and addressing problems early – from lead exposure to poor vision to developmental delays – gives children the best chance for a healthier, happier future.

Since 2018, Virtua’s Pediatric Mobile Services Program has helped address this need. For example, it has identified 14% of Camden children with elevated lead levels in their blood – compared to the national average of 2.5% – and has referred these children for further testing or treatment.

Across all communities it visits, the program has referred 65% of children for developmental services, 23% for dental and vision care, and 18% for hearing services.

To date, Virtua’s Pediatric Mobile program has served more than 14,000 children and provided over 20,000 patient visits. Overall, about 25% of these children were referred to receive further care. The program is primarily for children from birth to age 6. It provides older children with flu shots and physicals, as well.

Services include:

  • Developmental screenings
  • Oral health education and dental screenings
  • Flu shots
  • Lead blood-level screenings
  • Lead education for healthy homes
  • Back-to-school physicals
  • Vision and hearing screenings
  • Community resources
  • Referrals to specialized services
  •  Blood glucose (sugar) testing to be added soon
  • Good Foods to Grow, a program that teaches children about the importance of eating nutritious foods for a healthy body and brain.

The program also educates children, families, and caregivers about the health issues it addresses, so kids and adults understand the reasons for these services, and how to stay healthy.

“We provide full, wrap-around services to ensure families receive the care they need and deserve,” added Emerson. “For example, we help parents schedule any needed medical appointments for their children, and we follow up with them to make sure they received those services. We also help them fill out paperwork for charity care and SNAP benefits, if needed.”

The program also supports families in non-clinical ways, providing free diapers, wipes, formula, books, blankets, clothing, snacks, and toys – all thanks to the generosity of donors.

Investing in Health
Virtua Health’s growing fleet of mobile health programs is fueled by the support of generous philanthropic partners. These include a mobile grocery store, mobile farmers market, mobile health and cancer screening unit, and two pediatric units.

Virtua’s Pediatric Mobile Services founding partner, the Joseph Lacroce Foundation, has given/pledged $2 million to cover the costs of the vehicles, equipment, screening tools and supplies, and operation expenses. Since the program launched in 2018, numerous other benefactors, such as TD Charitable Foundation and Delta Dental of New Jersey, have contributed to the program, enhancing its services and helping Virtua meet the needs of the community.

For more details and a schedule of free children’s health services, visit

To support this or other Virtua programs, please visit