School based health clinics are providing needed early health screenings to elementary school children.
In Durham NC, the ongoing focus is on the whole child, and how health affects learning. A majority of the school board agrees that child health is critical to improving academic achievement.
The Durham Public Schools have partnered with the Department of Health and Duke University to have the Child Health Assessment and Prevent Programs (CHAPP) open five different school based health assessment clinics at elementary schools, providing vaccinations and “well child” checkups to students and their siblings.
“We have so many children in our county whose parents will take them for medical treatment when something goes wrong, but oftentimes parents will forget that wellness checkups are important too,” said Cheryl Scott, public health nurse program manager for the Department of Health.
The clinics perform immunizations, kindergarten physicals for school, vision and hearing screenings as well as fouride dental treatments, and checking blood for iron levels and lead.
Teens are screened for mental health concerns and at-risk behaviors.
“It’s encompassing the whole child and not just the physical part,” Scott said.