Saturday, December 11, 2010

New School-Based Clinic Aims to Save Lives and Boost Student Success

A new one-of-a kind school-based medical clinic opens this week at San Diego Unified’s Central Elementary School that officials hope will have major impact locally and nationally.

A ceremony to officially dedicate the clinic took place at 10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 10.
The mission of Central Elementary Health and Wellness Center in City Heights is to provide health care to the school’s 860 students and their siblings, from infancy until 15 years of age. An estimated 1 in 4 children attending Central in the high-poverty community currently do not have health care.

“The clinic is a dream come true for the school and community,” said Central Principal Cindy Marten, who sees first-hand how medical problems can interfere with learning.

Medical research shows that school-based health clinics work, improving both the physical and academic well-being of students. According to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, clinics contribute to higher student attendance and achievement, with a 50 percent decrease in absenteeism and measurable impact on higher grades.

Central’s clinic will be run by licensed medical professionals through a partnership with San Diego Unified and two existing clinics: La Maestra and San Diego Family Care. Together the community clinics treat the majority of student families in the area, making them trusted medical practitioners in the mid-city neighborhood.

What makes this clinic unique is that it was built on campus attached to the school nurse’s office with the help of a $50,000 grant from Price Family Charitable Fund. Central’s nurse will work in partnership with the clinic staff, and it is the clinic’s medical staff members who will run health care services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the 11 months that Central operates.