Featured Story: Clinic in a Cornfield

The Clinic for Special Children is featured in the January 2016 issue of Genome Magazine, detailing how a clinic in a cornfield, nestled among the rural backroads of Strasburg, PA, blends simplicity with cutting-edge science.

Highlighted is an inspiring personal account of one family’s difficult journey with Pretzel Syndrome and the clinic’s remarkable impact through their diagnosis, treatment and personal influence on both this family and a genetically vulnerable community predisposed to rare genetic diseases.

Dr. Holmes Morton walks us through his co-founding of the Clinic for Special Children with Caroline Morton, motivated by an ‘irrational, dysfunctional healthcare system’ that did not cater to two generally isolated populations with a shared disposition to genetic disease: the Amish and Mennonites. Though the Clinic was designed for the specialized screening, diagnosis and inexpensive treatment for those affected and injured by GA-1 and MSUD, the clinic has since become a medical home for families living with many other genetically inherited diseases prevalent among the Amish and Mennonites. Since 1989, the specialization of our clinic has become not just a model of ingenuity and servitude, but the standard of care in the U.S.

“One of the real values of this place is we have a kind of institutional memory that…allows us to have insight into these diseases that very few places have,” Dr. Morton says. “It is a good example of chance favoring the prepared mind.”