Take Advantage of the Medical School-Based Health Center

The Fair Haven Community Health Center at EHHS is a convenient, free, easy way for students to seek primary and secondary health care during and/or after school hours.

The medical School-Based Health Center was put in place at EHHS with multiple goals. The main goal of the center is to provide extended health services to school-age children. It was designed to be a place where students could receive primary or secondary health care at their convenience. It also offers services that many students aren’t aware of, including immunizations, management of chronic health conditions, sports physicals, birth control, and testing for sexually-transmitted infection diseases.

Dr. Mary Patricia Lamberti, a nurse practitioner, provides medical health care at the Fair Community Haven Health Center in EHHS in the same manner a primary care doctor would. She believes having a medical SBHC (School-Based Health Center) in EHHS is important because, “They [the students] can be seen here and cared for here if they have no primary care doctor…They can be seen here at no expense if they can’t afford seeing a doctor.” She also made it clear that the SBHC’s goal is to “lower absenteeism and tardiness to help students succeed.” This can be accomplished due to the proximity of the medical SBHC from a classroom. With this, a short walk allows students to be able to receive medical care within a matter of minutes. Mr. Vincent DeNuzzo, EHHS principal, added, “That clinic can provide tremendous resources for medical diagnosis… What Dr. Lamberti can do is a little bit beyond what our school nurse can do as far as strep throat or flu vaccines.” Thus, an in-school medical health center is a great benefit to students and should be fully taken advantage of.

SBHCs provide primary medical care in twenty-six schools throughout Connecticut. Any student can enroll in the SBHC’s services, and if they enroll, they’ll become a patient of Community Health Center, Inc. With this, students are able to receive care without medical coverage! If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you are still eligible to become a patient. For those who have a primary care doctor, the SBHC practitioners aren’t your replacements; their jobs are to make sure that you’re receiving the best form of extended health service that you can get. Mr. DeNuzzo expressed the perspective of parents on the school-based health clinic when he said, “When you become a parent, you will see that getting into your son/daughter’s doctor’s office is not always easy… If my son comes home from school and say his ear or his throat hurts, then we have to call the doctor, get into the doctor’s office at six o’clock at night, get there, find child care for the other two kids, then get them to diagnose and say ‘He’s got strep throat.’ Call in to the medical pharmacy to pick it [the medication] up.”

Mr. DeNuzzo is also fond of the idea to open an SBHC in all Connecticut schools. “Because I believe in the benefit of them. I think it would be a great idea to have every clinic - behavioural health and medical health.” Hopefully, one day, all schools in Connecticut, whether they be primary or secondary, will contain a SBHC. With the benefits and services it offers, students would be wise to at least talk to the SBHC’s staff to see if it’s a good fit for them.

Photo Credit: Josie Jones