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School-based health center at Brighton High School celebrates successful first year

BRIGHTON, COLO. (July 1, 2019) – A student’s regular attendance at school sets the stage for academic success and graduation. Every day a student misses school is a lost learning opportunity.

There are various barriers that affect a student’s ability to access health care including lack of access to transportation and the high cost of care. Kids First Health Care and 27J Schools are working together to combat these barriers and ensure that students spend more time in school actively engaged and learning and less time out of school due to illness.

In fall 2018, Kids First Health Care and 27J Schools opened the first 27J school-based health center at Brighton High School. The health center provides a menu of health care options for students to help them stay healthy and avoid missing school. Services provided by the health center include: immunizations/shots, annual check-ups and sports physicals, visits for sickness and injury, confidential teen health services, health education, preventive dental care, and mental health counseling.

In its first year, the clinic served nearly 250 student patients through more than 900 appointments. Due to the high percentage of visits associated with mental health and wellness, 27J Schools and Kids First are partnering with Community Reach Center to hire a full-time, behavioral health professional for the 2019-2020 school year to help students manage and work through mental health related issues.

A survey conducted in the spring showed that the top reasons students were motivated to visit the health center were convenience (30%), saving money (30%), time saved (30%), and improve their health (40%). Direct feedback from students included: the clinic is an excellent place; the privacy and respect shown is awesome, very comfortable environment, the clinic is very clean and the people that work there are very nice and supportive.

The health center has helped students with varying medical issues including the following positive outcomes.

  1. A 16-year-old student, was missing class on a regular basis. She had been feeling extremely fatigued and often felt too exhausted to attend class. Worried by her sudden and unexplainable exhaustion, she sought help from the school-based health center. A Kids First nurse practitioner examined her proceeded to run lab work. When the lab work showed the student tested positive for diabetes, the nurse practitioner immediately reached out to the student’s primary care provider to create a treatment plan. With a plan in place, the student began feeling better and her school attendance improved.
  2. A student came to the clinic with complaints of a toothache. He arrived on a dental clinic day, and the hygienist was able to see him immediately, relieve his pain and refer him for further dental care. The patient said he had never seen a dentist before his visit to the health center.

Students need not have insurance to be seen in the clinic, and all services are free. Parents must complete an enrollment form prior to their students receiving care.

In order to make the health clinic a reality, Kids First is collaborating with the following organizations: 27J Schools, Salud Family Health Centers, and Community Reach Center.

Kids First Health Care currently operates eight school-based health centers at schools throughout Adams County. The Brighton High clinic is the first in 27J Schools.

About Kids First Health Care: Kids First Health Care is committed to improving the health and well-being of infants, children, and youth through providing primary and preventive health services in partnership with schools and other community organizations.– https://www.kidsfirsthealthcare.org/

About 27J Schools: 27J Schools educates almost 18,000 students from Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Lochbuie, and Thornton and encompasses parts of Adams, Broomfield and Weld counties. The mission of School District 27J, with the support of the family and community, is to ensure that all students have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for present and future competence and success. 27J Schools operates on a four-day school week schedule. Classes are held Tuesday – Friday.– www.sd27j.org

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