The Leon M. Root, MD Pediatric Outreach Program

Celebrating 25 Years of the Leon M. Root, MD Pediatric Outreach Program

Over 25 Years of Free Medical Service to NYC Pediatric Communities

Hospital for Special Surgery's Leon M. Root, MD Pediatric Outreach Program (POP) (pdf) provides free musculoskeletal screenings to children in medically underserved communities in New York City. Through education and early detection, POP is leading the effort to prevent long-term disability from musculoskeletal disease or injury and to educate parents and children about musculoskeletal health. The program also arms physicians-in-training with cultural sensitivity skills needed to overcome the barriers to health care access and delivery faced by patients from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Since the Programís inception in 1987, the screening team has examined over 23,000 children and referred more than 3,500 for primary or musculoskeletal care. Screening are performed at NYC public schools and daycare centers.

Who performs the screening:
The POP orthopaedic team conducts screenings of a child's joints, muscles and bones.

The POP team is led by Leon Root, MD, HSS Attending Orthopedic Surgeon and Laura Robbins, DSW, HSS Senior Vice President, Education and Academic Affairs, who have supervised the program since its inception in 1987. Other POP team members include HSS Orthopaedic residents, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center Pediatric Residents, nurses from the HSS Pediatric Ambulatory Care Service, along with bilingual, multicultural administrative staff.

Children are screened for what conditions?
Musculoskeletal and Rheumatological conditions that may address children include:

Growth of the POP Program: Pediatric Orthopaedic Clinic at Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
In 2004, POP evolved to meet the growing health needs of the Chinatown community.  Hospital for Special Surgery partnered with Charles B. Wang Community Health Center (CBWCHC) to establish its first monthly Pediatric Orthopaedic Clinic. The Charles B. Wang Community Health Center is a community-based ambulatory care health-care facility that provides primary care and emphasizes preventive medicine, health education, and community involvement.  The collaboration with CBWCHC has established a valuable connection to the Chinatown Asian-American neighborhood, particularly as the community has experienced rapid growth and endured economic, linguistic, and cultural barriers to health care access.  The POP team works closely with CBWCH clinical and administrative staff to provide specialty orthopedic care, promotes general medical care and facilitates the access to additional care during the Pediatric Orthopaedic Clinics.

In response to the significant number of children being referred for nutrition consultations, POP, in collaboration with HSS Public and Patient Education Department, began providing bilingual nutrition education workshops in 2007 to those schools that have children identified as high-risk for obesity. The primary intervention that will be used is the SNEAKER Program (Super Nutrition Education for All Kids to Eat Right), which was developed by the Public and Patient Education Department to educate children and parents on the importance of calcium consumption, a well-balanced diet and daily physical activity to promote overall musculoskeletal health.

POP began in 1987, through a funded grant from New York State Department of Health under the auspice of State Senator Roy M. Goodman.  Since then the program continues to sustainability by grants from Citigroup Foundation, Toys R Us Childrenís Foundation, The Helen Hotze Haas Foundation, Lehman Brothers, Oceanic Heritage Foundation, HSS Junior Committee and HSS Employee Activities Committee.

For more information on the POP program contact Vilma Briones, POP Coordinator at 212.774.2886 or For more information or the Charles B. Wang Pediatric Orthopaedix Clinic, contact our bilingual POP Coordinator Huijuan (Jane) Huang, MPA at 212.774.793 or

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