South Division High School and the Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers have partnered to create a school-based health clinic within Milwaukee Public Schools, expanding access to health care for a predominantly Hispanic student body.
“This health clinic will fulfill a significant need for our students and staff,” said Principal Jose Trejo. “We know that access to quality health care is an issue in this community, and we are absolutely excited to be able to help fill that need.”
Sixteenth Street and MPS held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October to celebrate the center’s grand opening.
With 24 school-based clinics, Sixteenth Street provides health services to over 6,800 students throughout Milwaukee and Waukesha.
In many ways, South Division was the natural choice to inaugurate a clinic for MPS.
Over 85% of Sixteenth Street’s patients are Hispanic, and South Division is the largest bilingual high school in the state, with English/Spanish instruction and curriculum.
“Too many communities we serve are not reached by the traditional medical outlets and approaches,” said José Pérez, alderman for District 12, the district in which South Division is located. “The immigrant, the Spanish dominant, the underserved and underemployed need to be reached in new ways … We weren’t doing enough of that and our desperate outcomes at the hands of the pandemic show us the consequences of what that means.”
Students and staff have access to free primary health care services every day of the school week, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the clinic accepts walk-ins. The clinic will also stay open during summer, but with a reduced schedule.
The clinic offers a range of primary care services and provides preventive services, vaccines, hearing and vision screenings as well as physicals.
Those with special needs, such as epilepsy, can also get care, and students with learning differences can be evaluated.
A particular focus will be addressing ongoing health problems, said Dr. Emilia Arana, medical director for school-based clinics at Sixteenth Street. “For example, kids with asthma, diabetes, hypertension, ADHD – they have access to our team on a daily basis. Many schools have school nurses, and that’s great, but we bring the next level of care with a nurse practitioner.”
For concerns that require specialized referrals or for appointments that need to be made outside of school hours, appointments can be scheduled at one of the other nearby Sixteenth Street clinics.
The two closest ones are at 1032 S. Cesar Chavez Drive and 2906 S. 20th St.
“We don’t put any barriers to care,” Arana said. “The students can develop a trust in our system and our team and be comfortable accessing those services. It’s easy for them. They’re not going to miss school. Parents are not going to miss work.”
More information about the clinic
- Ability to pay or insurance coverage does not matter. It is at no cost to patients.
- Immigration status also does not prohibit a student from getting care.
Leave a Reply