News

7.27.2011

UM School Health Initiative Receives Federal Grant for Expansion

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has received a $454,500 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative. The funding is part of last year’s federal health care overhaul to build new school clinics and expand health care into areas with high numbers of uninsured families.

The one-time grant for capital improvements will be used to expand telehealth capabilities at the schools involved in the initiative and to develop electronic medical records for participating students. Consisting of high-definition video conferencing systems and two-way monitors, telehealth equipment allows physicians to quickly and conveniently diagnose students from afar, saving time and money and reducing absences from school.

“This grant allows us to connect these schools through telehealth and provide better service than before,” said Arthur Fournier, M.D., professor of family medicine and community health and associate dean for community health. “The electronic medical records will allow us to follow these children through their school years without moving around paper records, and it will make for great continuity of care.”

Currently the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative includes five North Miami Beach feeder pattern schools: North Miami Beach Senior High, John F. Kennedy Middle, Fulford, Greynolds Park and Gertrude Edelman/Sabal Palm elementary schools; two city of North Miami schools: North Miami Senior High and North Miami Middle; and one school in Overtown: Booker T. Washington Senior High.

Joycelyn Lawrence, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and community health and medical director of the school health initiative, serves as principal investigator on the grant.

“It is our goal to deliver quality medical and mental health services in a convenient and coordinated fashion,” said Dr. Lawrence. “Telehealth and electronic health records allow us to do this. We will be able to take care of more children and needed specialty services such as dermatology and nutrition will now be more readily available.”

The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative began in July 2000 through an original grant of $6.25 million from the foundation. At the time, only the five North Miami Beach feeder pattern schools were involved. Over the years the initiative has grown to include two additional communities with high numbers of uninsured families.

“This grant from the federal government allows the Dr. John T. Macdonald School Health Initiative to take a monumental step forward,” said Kim Greene, executive director of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation. “We believe this initiative, and the partnership between the Miller School of Medicine with the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation and others, has clearly created a leading national model for providing comprehensive primary care to students in underserved communities.”

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