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Health Centers in Schools awarded grant to increase Oral health care to students in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools

Monday, June 13, 2011 - 7:41pm

Health Centers in Schools is the only organization in the nation that integrates school-based health centers and the school nurse program. Through 11 full-service School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and 79 School Nursing Program sites, the 501(c) 3 non-profit organization provides a full spectrum of medical and mental health services to over 45,000 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12 in all East Baton Rouge Parish public, state-run and charter schools.

“With the help of local dentists, Health Centers in Schools has provided oral health services to students for several years,” said Sue Catchings, chief executive officer. Catchings added, “However, we have only been able to reach a fraction of the students who need dental care. Oral health is vital for student wellbeing, and this grant will enable us to offer more dental services to students who really need the care.”

NASBHC’s training initiative is designed to enhance the capacity of clinicians at HCS to deliver oral health preventive services. With funding from Kaiser Permanente, NASBHC will provide technical and financial assistance to HCS to incorporate oral health promotion, assessment, and preventive practices within well-child visits.

One of the most pressing, unmet health needs of children and adolescents that SBHCs seek to address is oral health,” said Linda Juszczak, executive director of NASBHC. “We’re excited to offer technical assistance and training to such a diverse group of SBHCs so that they can address these difficult challenges and keep students healthy and learning.”

Funding for the grants is a result of Kaiser Permanente’s employee wellness program, Healthy Workforce, through which the organization contributed $50 for each employee who took an online health risk assessment. Almost 23,000 Kaiser Permanente employees voluntarily participated in the program in its first year, which raised $1.2 million overall.

"Kaiser Permanente shares common values with the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, including a commitment to assure access to high-quality health care, unencumbered by income, language, culture or socioeconomic background,” said Winston Wong, M.D., medical director, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit. “Congratulations to the school-based health centers who have been awarded these grants – we look forward to seeing your achievements over the coming months.”

Grantees will be trained on how to administer fluoride varnishes, which have been provided courtesy of the nonprofit organization Oral Health America. “We are so pleased to be able to support this effort with the donation of 5,000 units of fluoride varnish,” said Beth Truett, President and CEO of Oral Health America. “It’s exciting to be able to promote mouth health as a routine part of school health care.”

HCS and the rest of the grantees represent just a few of the 1,900 SBHCs across the country that provide access to almost 2 million students for a range of primary, mental, and oral health care services. These services are provided regardless of students’ ability to pay, and are held in a location that meets children and adolescents where they are: at school.

Dental problems are the most commonly cited unmet need among children, with tooth decay being one of the most common diseases of childhood. Because of their location, SBHCs are in a perfect position to increase the prevention and control of oral and craniofacial diseases, conditions, and injuries while increasing access to related services. Through providing preventive services such as assessment, screening and fluoride treatment, and creating strong referrals to follow-up dental care, HCS plays a significant role in the oral health of their community.

Other grantees include:

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
Norwalk, CA

Native American Health Center
Oakland, CA

San Francisco Department of Public Health
San Francisco, CA

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/COACH for Kids and Their Families
Los Angeles, CA

El Monte City School District
El Monte, CA

Operation Samahan, Inc.
National City, CA

Salud Para La Gente
Watsonville, CA

Southwest Open School and Florida Mesa School
Cortez and Durango, CO

Cincinnati Health Department
Cincinnati, OH

Neighborcare Health
Seattle, WA

LSUHSC Department of Pediatrics
New Orleans, LA

B Street Community Center
Lewiston, ME

FirstHealth Montgomery County School Health Centers
Biscoe, NC

The Resource Center
Jamestown, NY

Morris Heights Health Center
Bronx, NY

Sisters of Charity Hospital
Buffalo, NY

Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation
Cornelius, OR

University of Tennessee, College of Nursing
Knoxville, TN

Alexandria City Public Schools
Alexandria, VA



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