Family planning and sex education will be one focus
To help keep kids in class, one Longwood school has opened a doctor’s office on campus.
Students without health insurance can be plagued by a number of factors that result in their absence from school, and often in trips to the emergency room. Physical ailments, family problems, mental health issues, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy are all concerns that can disrupt their education.
With the opening of a new school based health center, Joshua Laub, principal of Banana Kelly High School, and Sharif Rucker, principal of the Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research, want to alleviate some of these problems.
The new clinic, which opened across the hall from the schools’ cafeteria on May 26, will provide students access to free health care. School officials hope the help it provides will keep students from staying home or making trips to the ER.
“We are trying to address the social context of education here,” said Laub in a speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We want to level the playing field for our students.”
The facility, which is being funded with an $800,000 grant from the Borough President, will offer primary care services for all students, including first aid, immunization, and physical examinations.
Morris Heights Health Center, which already operates eight health centers in schools across the city, will run the clinic.
Each of the city’s 123 school-based health centers is run by an outside health care agency. Most of the centers are located in underprivileged neighborhoods, where access to health care is limited.
Along with a full-time doctor, there will also be a dental staff, a social worker, a mental health advisor, and a health education specialist to staff the new clinic. Reproductive health services will be a priority of the new center, with a focus on sex education, family planning, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.