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Grant to pilot Western Heights wellness center

December 29, 2000

Grant to pilot Western Heights wellness center



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families has received a $200,000 grant to pilot a wellness center at Western Heights Middle School, said John Budesky, executive director of the Community Partnership.

There are more than 1,300 wellness centers across the United States, including more than 50 in Maryland schools. This will be the first one in Washington County, Budesky said.

The program will start in August 2001 and continue until July 2002, he said.

If the pilot program is successful, there will be a request for money to continue the program and possibly to add centers at other schools, Budesky said.

The center will provide health services for children whose families voluntarily choose to participate in the program, he said.

The grant is from the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families.

The program will offer school health services, acute care for common childhood illnesses, health assessment, coordination with the child's primary care provider, parent education, referrals for family planning, referrals for addictions treatment, education, mental health counseling and case management, Budesky said.

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The goal is not to replace a family doctor but to help catch health problems before they force students to miss school time, he said.

Contraception will not be handed out to students, Budesky said.

The Washington County Health Department and the Mental Health Center will provide the services, coordinating with physicians and health care providers. The program will be inside the school.

Western Heights was chosen for several reasons, particularly because it volunteered to participate and due to the number of visits students made to the health nurse at the school and the number of absentee days due to illness at the school.

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