By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspaper
LINCOLN PARK – From primary health care to mental health counseling, district students can now benefit from services in the new Henry Ford Health System health center located inside Lincoln Park High School.
The school-based and community health care center is available to all district students, and joins 13 other school-based community health programs in Detroit, Warren, Mt. Clemens and Highland Park.
No child is denied services if uninsured or unable to pay, and Medicare applications and assistance are available.
The purpose of the center is to provide comprehensive, interdisciplinary and confidential health services to meet student needs in a caring atmosphere designed to foster mutual respect.
The school-based programs already in place in other schools have been providing vaccinations, wellness checks and physicals, integrated mental health appointments and clinical appointments.
Intervention services include education on a wide range of topics, including asthma education, sexually transmitted diseases and human immunodeficiency virus, pregnancy prevention, mental health services, health promotion and risk reduction.
Minor injury assessment, treatment and followup is also available onsite, along with acute illness assessment and referrals, immunizations, over-the-counter medicines, and prescription medication, including medication delivery and laboratory services.
Praising the positive benefits at the March 3 opening day events were LPHS Principal Dan Mercer, Special Education Director Nicole Chubb, and Mayor and LPHS substitute teacher Thomas Karnes.
HFHS representatives speaking at the opening included Kathleen Conway, pediatric director; Dr. Maureen Connolly, medical director; Monica Vasquez, registered nurse; and Jessica Cuz, licensed master social worker.
LPHS students and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps honor guard members Chevarrié Uddin and SéAria Clinkscale also briefly shared a student perspective during the grand opening.
Clinkscale said the clinic will be a good thing for LPHS because it is good for students to have someone to talk to about health issues.
Uddin agreed, and said it was good that health care services were right there, onsite, providing someone whom students could talk to about their issues.
Mercer said he and the staff were initially concerned that there wouldn’t be enough usage of the clinic to keep it busy, but that has not proven to be a problem.
“Now, every single time that I walk in that door, there are multiple people that are waiting there, to get the services they need,” he said. “And not only have you guys jumped right in as far as the medical needs of our students, but you have adapted and wanted to become a part of Lincoln Park, which is really important to us here in the high school.”
Mercer said the journey to make the health center a reality is responsible in part to the district’s nursing consultant, his wife, whom the district engaged two years ago to help make the plan a reality. He said his wife, Mandy Mercer, served as the conduit between the LPPS district and the HFHS to help ensure that the dream became a reality.
“She can be a bulldog, and I know that more than anybody,” he said amid laughter. “But her heart is always in the right place, and making sure that days like today could happen, and all of the days from here on out, for our students to get what they need, here in this school, has been really because she was that bulldog, and she continued to push.”
Mercer said schools today have a lot of responsibility to its students, which can be seen as cause for complaint, or as an opportunity.
“I really think this is what we have done in this partnership with Henry Ford,” he said. “I cannot thank all of you that have been involved in this project enough, and I truly appreciate it.”