Interact for Health

Fairfield school-based health center opens

(Jan 19th, 2016)

Fairfield City School District students are among the first in the nation to have access to medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services all in one place thanks to the district’s new school-based health center (SBHC).

“Fairfield … is the first suburban school district in the U.S. that will offer comprehensive services - vision, dental, primary care and mental health -- all located and coordinated in the same building,” said Francie Wolgin, senior program officer at Interact for Health. Planning for the project began in December 2014 with a grant from Interact.

The center has three medical exam rooms, three dental chairs and two chairs for vision exams, all with up-to-date equipment. Optician Dana Meeks was on hand at the grand opening ceremony Jan. 14 to demonstrate a machine that tests eyeglass prescriptions and administers glaucoma tests.

Above: Optician Dana Meeks demonstrates a machine that tests eyeglass prescriptions and administers glaucoma tests.
Top of page: Senior Program Officer Francie Wolgin spoke Jan. 14 at the dedication ceremony of the Fairfield City School District's school-based health center.

“The school-based health center provides a means for us to remove the barriers that often prevent children and their families from attending school and being ready to learn,” said Gina Gentry-Fletcher of Fairfield City Schools. “Now, the child with a toothache can be cared for. A child who can't see the board can get an eye exam and be fitted for a new pair of eyeglasses.”

And because students will be treated on campus during school hours, “working parents will not have to miss work to take their children to multiple appointments,” Wolgin said.

The center occupies space in the former district administration building, which now houses Fairfield Academy, the district’s non-traditional learning program. The health center space was most recently used as a warehouse. The building is within walking distance of Fairfield’s Intermediate, Freshman and Central Elementary schools, but will serve all 10 of the district’s schools. The district has 10,000 students.

The vision center features a wide range of frame styles and the dental center includes an X-ray machine.

The health center will enhance the services of registered nurses who work in the individual schools. The nurses will assess students to determine whether they need to go to the health center for follow-up. An SBHC Navigator will coordinate the transportation of students to the health center, said Ronda Croucher of Primary Health Solutions, which will operate the center.

The center will be open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. It will serve not only students, but also their families and Fairfield City School District staff members and their families. Access will be available to all students, whether they have health insurance or not. Health center staff will help uninsured families with enrollment, according to Primary Health Solutions.

Congratulations Fairfield on helping your students be healthier!