School Health

Three New School-Based Health Centers Open for Area Students

Health Equity Works is delighted to report the grand openings of three new school-based health centers in St. Louis area schools.

On Oct. 27, both Riverview Gardens and Hazelwood East high schools held festive ribbon cuttings for the new health centers. The events were attended by collaborative partners, community leaders, elected officials, staff, and students. The events featured student performances, tasty food, and much gratitude from students, staff, and partners for this new, important resource in their schools. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger issued celebratory proclamations to both health care centers.

Barbara Fraser of the St. Louis County Executive’s office reads a proclamation in honor of the school-based health center at Riverview Gardens High School. Hazelwood East’s health center was also honored with a proclamation.

On November 14, Lift For Life Academy, a charter school in the City of St. Louis, also celebrated the opening of a school-based health center at its campus on South Broadway near Soulard.

These three health centers came to fruition only a year after the grand opening of an Affinia Healthcare center inside Normandy High School. They are the result of collaborative partnerships between schools, federally qualified health care centers, hospitals, foundations, and community nonprofits. Their openings reflect a remarkable commitment among St. Louis leaders across sectors to work as partners to close healthcare gaps for the well-being of students.

David Otto, chairman of the Christian Hospital Foundation board of directors, Chaketa Riddle, assistant superintendent of student, school, and community support services, Rick Stevens, president of Christian Hospital, Darius Kirk, Riverview Gardens High School principal, and Veronica Morrow-Reel, Riverview Gardens School District special administrative board member, prepare to cut the ribbon at Riverview Gardens High School.

It can be difficult for students to learn if they don’t have the eyeglasses they need. Or the inhaler to breathe through an asthma attack. Or the dentist to soothe a throbbing cavity. Or the counseling to deal with the trauma and anxiety of homelessness or poverty. Or the transportation to get to a healthcare provider many miles away.School-based health centers help students access healthcare and behavioral health supports so that they are well and can succeed in school. It is far easier for a student to gain access to healthcare when it is located just down a school hallway in an environment where teachers and staff encourage students to check-in to the center.

Indeed, research finds that school-based health centers increase student attendance and graduation rates.

Earlier this month it was announced that Express Scripts dedicated $350,000 in funding to help build infrastructure for the emerging Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri.

To learn more about the ribbon cuttings for both Riverview Gardens and Hazelwood East, check out the following media coverage at St. Louis Public Radio and in the St. Louis AmericanSt. Louis-Post Dispatch, St. Louis PatchKMOV News, St. Louis County Community News, and FloValley News



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