Salome Romero was overjoyed when she heard there would be a mobile health clinic at her children’s elementary school.
“I was very happy,” Romero said through a translator. “Now I don’t have to take my kids out of school to take them to see the doctor.”
Being within walking distance of her home, the health clinic is convenient, Romero said.
“I am very happy about that,” she said.
Romero’s family is one many who will benefit from a new mobile health clinic at Addams Elementary School.
Clinic Will Boost Health and Education
Fresno Unified celebrated the opening of the mobile clinic at a ribbon cutting event Wednesday morning. And a permanent clinic is on the way.
“This mobile health unit will be a tremendous boost to our Addams families and community by being easily accessible right on campus,” said Superintendent Bob Nelson.
Nelson said the clinic will also help keep students healthy and improve attendance and academic achievement.
“Students cannot learn if they are not at school,” Nelson said.
The community has looked forward to a health clinic for a long time, said Fresno Unified Trustee Carol Mills.
With 90 percent of families in Fresno Unified living in poverty, Mills said there is definitely a need for the health clinic.
“When you are living in poverty, healthcare can often be a great issue and challenge to obtain,” said Mills, who represents the Fresno High area that includes Addams. “So providing health care on the campus is going to help our families.”
More Clinics On The Way
The goal is to build and operate a permanent health clinic at the elementary school before next summer.
The district will build the estimated 2,600 square-foot center at the back of the campus at Lafayette and Home avenues.
Once built, the facility will the be second school-based health center within Fresno Unified. The district opened its first center at Gaston Middle School in 2014. The district plans to build five more centers by next year. They will be at Bakman Elementary School, Tehipite and Sequoia middle schools, and Duncan Poly and Sunnyside high schools.
The board of trustees approved the health centers at a February 2017 meeting, The centers are expected to benefit nearly 7,000 students and their families.
“If student health issues are treated and prevented then we have greater student achievement,” Mills said.
Clinica Sierra Vista and Valley Children’s Healthcare will operate the new sites.
“It is just a great opportunity for us to kind of bridge the gap between school services and clinical health services in the community,” said Kalila Banks, a physician assistant with Clinica Sierra Vista.
The mobile clinic, Banks said, will complete physicals, sports exams and vaccinations. It will also provide vision and hearing screenings and treat minor illnesses and injuries. “We can also order lab work and X-rays,” Banks said.
Once the permanent facility opens, Banks said the clinic will provide more services.
“The plan is to have a behavioral health clinician as well as some nursing staff,” Banks said.
Any student at Addams can utilize the clinic as well as their family members.
The clinic accepts MediCal and most insurances and HMO plans.
“I am hopeful that as we continue these efforts that we will be able to see our schools and children in our community experience the positive impact that we intended,” said McLane HIgh Area Trustee Christopher De La Cerda.