Glenn Hills High plans health offering

Program would offer accessible health clinics on site

School could become more than just a place to learn. Add getting a physical, mental health check and even dental work to the list.

In a couple of years at Glenn Hills High, officials say, a pilot program could allow such medical treatment by way of a school-based health clinic -- a first of its kind in Richmond County and one of just a few statewide.

"If students can get served in the school, they don't need to take a day off to go to the doctor for a checkup. ... The primary objective is to enhance accessibility," said Richmond County student services director Carol Rountree.

The goal is to expand such an offering to other schools in Richmond County and throughout the state, but first officials are looking to obtain a state grant for planning purposes through a collaboration with the Richmond County Board of Health and the Urban Health Program, Department of Pediatrics at Emory University.

The Richmond County school board recently agreed to allow the school system to apply for the maximum state grant available -- $15,000 -- to be used for a year's planning. The school system should know by July whether it has won the grant money, Rountree said.

After that, the system would again need to apply for a three-year grant to help fund operations for the clinic at Glenn Hills, to include Board of Health and other medical professionals who would serve as staff.

The local effort is part of a larger statewide Comprehensive School-Based Health Clinic Program. Its goals are to increase access to quality health care and improve the delivery of health services and the health of the state's children, according to the program's Web site.

Currently, officials say, there are just two school-based health clinics in Georgia, and the goal is to increase that number to 12 in the next five years.

At Glenn Hills, Rountree said, the clinic would operate during school hours but also might be available in the evening for parents and others who live in the Glenn Hills community.

Rountree said the Board of Health has already incorporated some services at Richmond County schools, offering flu shot clinics this year and in some cases conducting dental screenings.

"We already have a lot of collaboration going on," she said. "It (the latest effort) is just finding a way to expand on it and to bring some additional services to students and families."

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