U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark came to Revere High School last Friday afternoon to learn more about the collaboration between Massachusetts General Health and Revere High School.
The school-based health center is two centers with hours during school and hours afterschool. During afterschool hours anyone between the ages 15-21 who lives in the area can be seen, said nurse practitioner Janet Moses, we see kids who don’t go to school here and we see graduates. She said they also see students from North Shore Community College who are seeking health care.
“We’re really serving people in the afternoon who don’t have other options. We’re free and confidential,” Moses said.
Clark was interested in hearing about any mutual health components and substance use disorders and how they are tied in to the center.
The health center provides sports physicals, immunizations for new patients to the community, family planning, counseling, screening for mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence. Depending on screening, patients may be given referrals. The nurse practitioners also teach a section of the health class.
Recently, MGH at 300 Ocean Ave., added acupuncture and it is offered to young patients at Revere High School.
“Kids love it,” Moses said. “The kids are tuned into alternative healthcare. It is a very cultural diverse place, and it changes every year as to who are the new immigrants. We see kids who are the first to go to college and others who are the first to graduate from high school.”
She noted that there is always a student waiting to see her. No appointments area needed butt students come in as it fits their schedule. The health center also works cooperatively with the school nurse.
“My goal is to help kids have the best day possible,” Moses said, adding that the health center is not a lounge for teens.
Clark asked about funding streams and needs. She was told there are two social workers and there is always a wait.
“Two is not enough,” Moses said, adding it’s important to have. “Mental health is always an issue. Some years we have more crises than other years.”
She said it’s also important to have the school-based health center so doctor’s appointments do not take away from the students’ schedule.
“We would love to open a school-based health center in the middle school,” said MGH Dr. Roger Pasinki, something that Superintendent of Schools Dianne Kelly said could be considered if a new high school is built and the old high school becomes the middle school.
“We need partners and success stories like this,” Clark said.