Health center opens at Dayton school; will serve students, community

One of the big issues facing Dayton Public Schools is absenteeism and one of the largest drivers is health problems.

School district administrators said a new health clinic at Roosevelt Elementary will take an important step forward in solving this issue by bringing needed health services to the students to help them stay in the classroom.

At Roosevelt Elementary, 1923 W. Third St., a 5,300-square-foot health center is equipped with three medical exam rooms, four dental chairs, two vision exam lanes and a room for a behavioral health consultant. The clinic is open to all students in the district.

“Our goal is to be a one-stop shop,” said Gina McFarlane-El, CEO of Five Rivers Health Centers, which is partnering with Dayton Public Schools on the clinic.

School-based health services are a proven way to resolve significant learning barriers, by making it easier for children to stay healthy and be ready for learning. If a child has their regular school vision screening and needs glasses, now they can go pick out a pair at the new health center. If a kid needs to see their doctor but a parent can’t get out of work, now there’s convenient medical care during the school day.

FIRST STORY: Plans announced for school health clinic

Dayton school Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said studies have shown that school-based health centers improve educational outcomes, increase GPAs and increase graduation rates.

“With the opening of this health center we expect to see continued improvement in attendance district wide. Illness and the lack of access to health care are leading causes of excused and unexcused access among students,” Lolli said.

The health services will be provided at no cost to students. The providers will bill the students’ insurance, help families apply for health insurance coverage, or if needed can cover additional costs with grants.

“The intent of the school-based health center is not to replace that primary care provider, but is to help that parent that sometimes can’t leave work in order to provide care for that ill child,” McFarlane-El said.

MORE: Asthma program helps keep Dayton kids in classroom

Families, staff and the Dayton community will also be able to use the clinic, which will expand access in the area to needed services like optometry and dental care.

Five Rivers Health Centers, headquartered at 2261 Philadelphia Drive, is a federally-qualified health center that provides affordable care to low-income patients.

Just like with patients at their other offices, Five Rivers specialists can help community members who use the new clinic with applying for Medicaid, and patients who need help are charged on a sliding fee scale based on income.

Open hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The clinic is for DPS students only from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The clinic will provide students with care for illness, athletic physicals, check ups, vision exams and glasses, mental health counseling, free pharmacy delivery, and immunizations.

RELATED: Mental health an increasing focus in schools

All students will be transported from their school to the health center for care during the school day if they need to be seen.

Parents and guardians will need to fill out a consent form which will only need to be filled out once for students to be treated going forward.

The new clinic joins a growing list of school-based health care programs in the area.

In January, Five Rivers Health Center celebrated the opening of a school-based clinic within Trotwood-Madison's district's administrative offices at 3594 N. Snyder Road.

Also, a two-year-old mobile health unit by Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton brings asthma care directly to children, helping students prevent asthma attacks and stay in the classroom.

About the Path Forward

Our team of investigative reporters digs into what you identified as pressing issues facing our community. The Path Forward project seeks solutions to these problems by investigating how to improve Dayton Public Schools.

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