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CCSD partners with STRIDE Community Health to open two school-based health centers in 2022

STRIDE Community Health logo Two school-based health centers slated to open in January are set to offer CCSD students, parents and families more comprehensive, equitable and meaningful health care options.

The Cherry Creek School District is partnering with STRIDE Community Health Center to establish two standalone, school-based health centers at Horizon Community Middle School and at the Overland High/Prairie Middle School campus. These facilities will offer the community primary care clinics that can provide a variety of age-appropriate services, including mental and behavioral care, dental care, vision care and referrals, nutritional counseling, health education, acute care with providers and other services.

These new facilities, which are scheduled to open in January, 2022, will be designed to create permanent health care settings for students and families alike. These school-based centers will offer community members more health care options, and ultimately offer the opportunity for patients to self-advocate for their own health and wellness in a way that is racially and culturally responsive and equitable.

What’s more, these two centers could serve as an initial bridge to more facilities at more campuses across the district.

“The direct and indirect benefits to our students and their families are immeasurable,” said Michelle Weinraub, Director of Health Services for the district. “These school-based health centers will offer direct access to quality health care. Students will miss less school; parents won’t have to miss work for medical appointments. Having a medical home at school is what all of our students deserve.”

Current clinics staffed with highly qualified school nurses and health technicians will still operate at both locations, Weinraub added. The new standalone centers will serve as a complement to the services available through school medical staff; indeed, they’ll operate as a bridge of care through close collaboration with school nurses, administrators and teachers.

“School-based health center providers will create a lasting continuity of care from intake and assessment through diagnosis, treatment and future follow-up, creating a medical home,” Weinraub said, adding that the structure will help address structural inequity in the broader healthcare system. “According to the CDC, racism is a serious threat to public health … Our students and families of color have disproportionate mortality rates and experience a higher rate of illnesses.

“These centers will remove barriers, provide direct access to quality care and help address these disparities,” she added.

In partnering with CCSD for the new centers, STRIDE Community Health Center will provide medical staff, supplies, health education and counseling for students and families. Meanwhile, the district will provide architectural and design implementation, health education, marketing support, tech and health services support and meaningful community connections.

The partnerships between STRIDE and Cherry Creek Schools isn’t new. In 2018, the district partnered with the organization to provide immunizations, well-child and flu shot clinics at sites across the district. STRIDE has also played a key role in the district’s timely response to the COVID-19 pandemic – the nonprofit has worked with CCSD to provide COVID testing and vaccines.

“Our school nurses have had a long relationship with STRIDE as it relates to direct referrals to their area clinics for our families who needed quality safety-net healthcare,” Weinraub added.

Plans are already underway for immunization clinics, wellness appointments and STRIDE clinical services to kick off soon after the centers open their doors in January, 2022. All of the resources available at the new centers are designed to be responsive to the needs of the CCSD community, including engagement, connection and innovation.

“Dignified, qualified quality health care is a human right,” Weinraub said. “CCSD and STRIDE are uniquely positioned to offer school-based health center care and create generations of students, alumni and families who are well and ready for success.”

- Posted 4/14/21 at 9:30 AM