The Riverside Board of Education recently approved plans to build an on-site, school-based community health center at its October 18 meeting. Community Health & Wellness Partners (CHWP), an independent, nonprofit health center that provides primary care and other wellness services to the residents of Logan and surrounding counties, has partnered with the Riverside to build the health center, which will be attached to the existing building to the west of the main offices.
The goal of a school-based health center is to minimize the time children are out of class and maximize the amount of time they spend learning. Studies have shown that students who receive school-based health care also have fewer long-term health issues and experience improved academic outcomes. Families also maintain complete control over what health services their children receive or do not receive.
The 1,500-square-foot health center will be added to the existing building on the Riverside campus and will offer a community-based wellness center, community rooms to rent, and a clinic to offer medical and mental health services to students and the community at large.
“By partnering with the Riverside School District, we have an opportunity to improve access to needed health resources, not only to its students but also to the surrounding community,” said CHWP CEO Tara Bair. “Many of these children and their families are underserved and currently must travel outside the community for primary care, if primary care is even being received. The closest health facility for the area is over 20 minutes by car.”
The school-based clinic will utilize Ohio’s Whole Child Framework, which broadens district and school focus beyond academics to meet each child’s social-emotional, physical, and safety needs and places the child at the center while surrounding them with a comprehensive approach that includes considerations for the school environment, support, and partnerships. To follow this framework effectively, CHWP will implement its TeamCare model, which is utilized in all CHWP health centers to holistically care for the patients by putting the patient in the middle of their health care and surrounding them with primary care, behavioral health, nutrition, pharmacy, chronic care management, medication assistance, and social services.
Riverside Superintendent Scott Mann said, “While this is a very exciting time for the Riverside community, providing convenient access to medical care, the most important aspect of this project is onsite mental health services for our students in need.” Mann said student mental health issues have tripled since 2020, “therefore, to have onsite help for our students is paramount.”
The project will be funded by a grant awarded to Community Health & Wellness Partners and Riverside Schools by the Ohio Department of Health in the amount of $638,000. The Riverside Community School-Based Health Center is slated to open in the fall of 2023. CHWP will begin offering health care services beginning January 2023 from a temporary space until the new facility is complete.