This story is part of the
One-stop shop


Health centers in L.A. schools offer privacy for students

  This story originally aired on The Madeleine Brand Show on Southern California Public Radio. Under the federal health care law, money is...

Health centers at schools get a funding boost

This story originally appeared on NPR. Under the federal health care law, money is going out around the country to help school campuses boost...


Schools mirror community's health

When I heard that high school students were regularly missing class because cockroaches were lodged in their ears, it was shocking.

This came up in a story I’m working on about school-based health centers. There are nearly 200 around California – the majority in underprivileged areas, where almost all of the students qualify for free lunches and Medi-Cal.

The high school I recently visited in Los Angeles had a full-fledged medical clinic on campus. That’s right – doctors, nurses, medical office equipment, all of it. It’s open to students and community members during the week and on Saturday and provides free primary care, dental and mental health services.

School officials are convinced that the clinic’s a necessity if their students are going to succeed. On a daily basis, students miss class because of ongoing domestic violence at home. Or because they have bites all over their legs from rats or bed bugs. Or their parents are working two jobs and can’t get them to the dentist to treat a throbbing toothache.

For these students, entrenched poverty makes them sick. That’s on top of the other more obvious health needs they have for vaccinations or annual physical exams.

This was a lot different than my school experience in suburbia with other middle-class kids.

As I walked to the campus health center to do my interviews, I looked around at the houses in the neighborhood. Some of them were missing windows. Many had sagging porches and peeling paint.

At the end of the block I arrived at the modest school health center. Inside, I heard over and over about how those rundown houses have a daily impact on the students.

A lesson in public health, indeed.

My upcoming radio story will get into how these school health centers are tackling community health problems and how federal dollars are helping them expand around the state and country.

Other Articles

Prescription for Success: Caring

When pharmacist Steve Chen first saw him, Mike Metcalfe was straight out of a hospital ward following an eight-day diabetic coma.  He was 50,...

Increased responsibility pays health dividends

Dr. Sarah Ma goes over medications and dosages with diabetes patient Joe Navarro. Photo Credit: Anacleto Rapping This article originally...

More time to avoid the Obamacare tax penalty

In my last column, I warned you that March 31 was your last chance to sign up for a health plan from Covered California or the private market if you...
  • 1 of 81

© 2014 California Healthcare Foundation Center for Health Reporting