The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

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The Grow Clinic

Child and Elmo

The GROW Clinic at St. Christopher’s Hospital in North Philadelphia provides integrative medical care for young children with “failure to thrive”. The Clinic works to prevent the long-term health and developmental effects in young children caused by inadequate nutrition. The Grow Clinic began operating in March of 2005 and currently serves more than 300 families per year. St. Christopher’s Grow Clinic is modeled after the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center, started by Deborah Frank, a pediatrician and founding researcher with Children’s Health Watch.

What is “failure to thrive”?

Children who are underweight or height for their age compared with other children their age and who have problems growing may have “failure to thrive”. These children are at risk for these long-term health and developmental effects. Children who have “failure to thrive” may have:

  • Shorter attention spans
  • Increased risk of being sick or hospitalized
  • Emotional problems
  • Delayed learning and language abilities
  • Limited fine and gross motor skills
  • Persistent failure to grow

How does the GROW Clinic help children with “failure to thrive”?

The Clinic employs a multi-disciplinary team of medical physician, nurse practitioner, child psychologist, nutritionist and social worker. Together they work to address the complex health, psychosocial and economic issues of under-nutrition within the family unit in conjunction with providing needed medical care to the child. The Clinic works with the child’s parent to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to improve nutrition and promote growth for the child and family.

What services does the Grow Clinic provide? 

The Grow Clinic provides many services including but are not limited to:

  • Healthcare evaluation and treatment
  • Psychosocial treatment
  • Social services assessment
  • Developmental assessment
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Social work services


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