Health Centers in Schools, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, was recognized Friday with the Gulf-South Summit’s 2017 Outstanding Community Partner Contributions to Service-Learning in Higher Education Award based on its passion for improving access to healthcare for underserved children in the East Baton Rouge School System.
Sue Catchings, administrator for Health Centers in Schools, accepted the award on behalf of the organization in Greensboro, N.C., at the Gulf-South Summit, held annually to recognize the hard work and dedication of outstanding people and programs in the field of service-learning and civic engagement in higher education.
“It is a part of our mission to help those most in need, and Health Centers in Schools puts that goal into action in a major way,” said Dr. Shaun Kemmerly, chief medical officer for Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. “This program helps children in our community who may not otherwise have access to the level of healthcare they truly need; and while we are proud to have the program win this award, simply seeing the difference Health Centers in Schools makes in the community every day is a reward for our team.”
Health Centers in Schools integrates health programs and services through school-based health centers and the school nurse program, creating “medical homes” for all East Baton Rouge Parish public school students in Louisiana. Nursing students from Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University also assist in providing vision and hearing screenings, flu vaccinations, dental screenings, sports physicals and many other services.
Begun in 1987, Health Centers in Schools contracts with the Louisiana Office of Public Health, East Baton Rouge Parish School System, Recovery District Schools, Charter Schools, and others. The organization coordinates all health services across 90 school campuses in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools and serves approximately 45,000 children and youth. With parents’ consent, Health Centers in Schools helps all children, regardless of income, get the preventive and emergency healthcare they need to be able to stay in school. When primary needs are cared for, a child can concentrate on completing his or her education to be better prepared for the job market and to be a better contributor to society.
Catchings, also a trainer for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, the American Medical Association, and the Bureau of Primary Care, has been the Health Centers in Schools administrator since 1994. For more information on Health Centers in Schools, visit http://www.schoolhealthathcs.org.