By Michael Abeyta

Aurora, COLO. (CBS4)- Cherry Creek Schools is trying to remove barriers to healthcare for their students and families. They have partnered with STRIDE Community Health Center to open community clinics on 2 school campuses; Overland High School and Horizon Middle School.

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They are more than just a school nurse’s office. They are fully staffed medical clinics where students, staff, and even the community can get medical and mental help if they need it.

Sybil Booker the principal for Overland says that’s important because they feel an obligation to take care of their students so they can learn.

“We think about the whole child, right? We think about the fact that we need to meet their needs,” she said.

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“If they don’t feel well, they can’t learn,” adds Michelle Weinraub the Chief Health Officer for Cherry Creek Schools.

That’s why the district and STRIDE are trying something new with these clinics. The hope is that since students and families are already going to a school they trust, they will feel comfortable stopping at a clinic to get help if they need it while they are there.

That may lead to better overall health for the entire community.

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” Not just acute illness, but lifestyle changes to keep them healthy for their entire lifespan,” said Maryann Shiltz a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and one of the Regional Medical Directors for STRIDE.

The clinics also have mental health experts that will check in with every patient to make sure they are doing ok.

“To see how is their stress level, how’s their appetite their mood, because we know all of these conditions, especially over the last few years are going to impact physical health,” said Jen Burch a Behavioral Health Provider with STRIDE.

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The clinics have only been open for a couple of months and already some people have been visiting them. They’re hoping to spread the word so families will soon start utilizing them to protect themselves and their students’ education.

“This can and will and I’m sure it already has for some become their permanent medical home,” said Weinraub.

The clinics are open to the whole community and they won’t turn anybody away regardless of their ability to pay.

 

Michael Abeyta