School-Based Health Center open for business

Tuesday, October 22 marked the start of a new era for the students and staff at Hilsman Middle school and Gaines Elementary school. The afternoon contained the ribbon cutting of the new school-based health center between Hilsman and Gaines schools.

“The idea behind it is that is a huge convenience for parents and it really helps reduce some of the barriers to accessing healthcare that families face, if a parent can’t take off of work to come to pick up their child, the child can be seen here at school by a doctor,” said Amy Roark Clarke County’s Director of School Nursing.

The event started with speeches from many involved in the planning and execution of the project. Speakers from the school district, Advantage Behavioral Healthcare, Athens Neighborhood Health Center, employees of the facility, and even a student and parent from Hilsman spoke.

It takes a village: People from all different parts of this project come together in front of the new health clinic’s plaque. “It’s been a really wonderful collaboration of community resources, all different types of organizations and resources in town have come together working together to make this place happen,” said director Amy Roark. Photo by Tory Ratajczak.

Once all of the speakers were finished, the ribbon was cut, and community members were invited to walk through the new health center.

The facility contains two medical exam rooms, a dental room, a behavioral health room, and a lab. The facility also includes an office and a waiting room and reception area for patients.

Local Smiles: The new dental room in the Health Center equipped with a full dental set-up “We have a whole dental room which is awesome, with a brand new dental set up, I mean it’s just such a nice place,” said director Amy Roark. Photo by Tory Ratajczak.

The clinic can be used as a walk-in for if a student is sick or parents can make appointments for well-visits, immunizations,  or physicals.

The clinic also has a pharmacy delivery service for prescriptions to be brought to the clinic so that staff and parents can get prescriptions straight from the clinic.

“Yesterday, a child needed an inhaler and when the mom came and picked her up from the health clinic, the pharmacy had already delivered the inhaler so she could take the medication and her child home,” said Roark.

The clinic is a direct representation of how the school district wants to improve the life and learning of the students.

“It’s such a nice place. Our kids deserve to have really quality healthcare and they’re going to get it,” said Roark.