School Health Initiative Provides Screenings at Health Fair

About a hundred people who attended the Community Health and Resource Fair in North Miami last month received free health screenings and learned about the free primary and preventive care services the Miller School’s Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative offers at nine Miami-Dade County schools this year.

“It was an awesome event,” said M. Denise Simmons, program manager for the school health initiative. “We were able to inform everyone about school health clinics, the importance of having them in our schools and our new initiative of enrolling children in Kidcare for the upcoming school year. Those who didn’t know about the services were eager to learn more and wanted to transfer their children to our schools to receive the quality health care we provide for Miami-Dade County Public School students.”

The John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics staffed a table at the July 16 fair at the Sunkist Community Center, as did the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health’s Area Health Education Center, which provided information on smoking cessation.

Founded in 2000, the school initiative now operates free health clinics at three high schools – North Miami, North Miami Beach, and Booker T. Washington – and six of the elementary and middle schools in their feeder patterns. A ninth clinic will open at Arch Creek Elementary when school starts later this month. Led by the Department of Family Medicine and directed by Joycelyn Lawrence, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine, the initiative focuses on risk assessment, prevention, and early diagnosis and treatment, enabling children to remain healthy and in school with fewer absences.

The benefits are measurable. Students at schools with John T. Macdonald clinics miss fewer days of school overall, and their vaccination rates exceed the state goal of 98 percent of all children and the average Miami-Dade County rates for kindergarteners and seventh graders.

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