The public is invited to learn more about the school-based health center proposed for the Astoria School District at a series of community meetings beginning later this month. The meetings will be held Feb. 26 and March 21. All the meetings will take place at the Astoria High School auditorium from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Organizers will provide information as well as take feedback and answer questions.
The health center project is a joint effort of the Astoria School District, Coastal Family Health Center (CFHC) and the Clatsop County Public Health Department. Its goal is to provide easier access to health care for district students.
Currently there are more than 60 school-based health centers in Oregon, and 1,800 nationwide. They provide services including routine physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness, treatment of minor injuries, vision, dental and blood pressure screenings, immunizations and health education.
Data shows that school-based health centers, by providing convenient access to health services, help decrease student absenteeism, reduce unnecessary and costly emergency room visits, and ensure quality and cost-effective care for children and adolescents. Improving access to healthcare also launches youth on a path of wellness and prevention that can pay life-long dividends.
The planning efforts are supported in part by a $60,000 state grant received by the county in 2012 and directed by a steering committee representing the school district, Public Health, CFHC and other entities, as well as AHS students.
Through the public meetings, organizers hope to find out the level of community support, take questions the public has about the project, and hear about services people would like to see provided.