Houston High School Opens Health Clinic

Students at Chavez High School will now have access to free health care on campus. The Houston Independent School District is opening a clinic inside the school. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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The health clinic inside the school will be run by HISD and staffed by medical professionals from Baylor College of Medicine. A main element of the treatment will be sports medicine. Dr. Joseph Chorley is the director of sports medicine for the Baylor Teen Health Clinics.

"I come out to the schools and do a lot of pre-season exams on the athletes. I take care of their injuries. And the nice thing is having us right here on campus, they don't have to go out and find a clinic where they have to pay to go get their pre-season exam. It also gives them an opportunity to take care of smaller injuries here as opposed to having to go all the way to the stadium for evaluations and those kind of things. And so that's kind of my part and I'm a small part of the whole grand scheme of the teen clinic here."

In addition to sports medicine, a nurse and social worker from Baylor will also provide treatment at the clinic. They'll be able to treat minor acute illnesses, provide laboratory services, health education, counseling, immunizations and athletics physicals. Eighty-seven percent of the student population at Chavez are at or below poverty level. HISD Director of Health and Medical Services Evelyn Henry.

"This school is, in a sense, isolated -- it's at the edge of our school district. And it has great needs. And many times when parents are accessing healthcare, the distance is a barrier and transportation is a barrier because parents might not have transportation or they might have to take two or three buses, they may have to take younger siblings to the clinic. So this is an ideal place in that it removes many of those barriers that parents and kids face in this community."

Some students may not be all that excited about not having to miss school to visit the doctor. But Henry says there will be cases where they can't treat a student or need to refer them to a specialist. Staff at the clinic will be trained in what kind of treatment is available for uninsured students and where to send them.

"They can receive specialty care is what we call it. And they'll be referred out to the Harris County Hospital District, to Texas Children's Hospital, it might be to Memorial Hermann or to any of those in the community. And also we work with the Children's Defense Fund and the campaign this year -- the 100% Campaign -- where we're going to get all the kids connected to a source of medical care."

All medical care, tests and medicines administered at the clinic will be free to students at Chavez High School. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.


Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...