School health clinic is worth it
Opening an East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) clinic in the new Winthrop Middle/High School is essential to improving the health of our youth. The clinic would provide immediate access to both physical and behavioral healthcare. Placing this facility in the Middle/High School would ensure the youth population convenient, timely, and quality care. As a Winthrop resident and UNH student, I want to see our community thrive. Research shows that healthy children are more successful in school. Therefore, it seems natural to provide students with the best resources for better health.
School-based health centers (SBHCs), such as the ones in Revere and Chelsea, have seen great success. This is also true for the 31 other SBHCs across the state. In 2015, Chelsea’s SBHC partnership with MGH provided in-depth adolescent sexual health services and education, including a family planning counselor. Comprehensive services like this go beyond the scope of what school nurses can do alone. Available data shows that the teen birth rate in Chelsea has been decreasing since 2011. A 2016 study supports the causal relationship between increased access to health services and decreased teen birth rates. This is just one area in which SBHCs have a positive effect on the communities they serve.
As the Winthrop Sun Transcript reported in their January 22, 2016 issue, approximately one quarter of the town uses EBNHC. With such a large population base in Winthrop, it is a sound choice of provider for our school. Winthrop Middle/High needs a clinic to provide first-rate physical and mental care as well as other educational and health resources. We should invest in the health of our youth today so that they can achieve success and wellbeing tomorrow. It has been said before and will be said again: Winthrop’s worth it! More information about the benefits of SBHCs can be found at: www.ma4sbhc.org and www.sbh4all.org.