We’ve been writing about school based health centers lately because we keep hearing about them — and what they do is pretty exciting when it comes to reducing barriers to care. In Des Moines, IA, we heard about a new dental and medical clinic opening in Scavo High School. The Nolden Gentry Dental Clinic and Primary Health Care (PHC) opened their doors this month as Iowa’s first school clinic. This the first of its kind in Iowa and part of a bold plan by Scavo High School to become a full service school. Scavo High School is an alternative school which aims to help students who are at risk for falling behind in their studies. It also operates a day care center for teen parents and a food pantry sponsored by the Food Bank of Iowa. The dental clinic was funded with a $250,000 grant from Delta Dental and two grants from the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation totaling $55,000. It is named after Nolden Gentry, a longtime attorney and the first African-American member elected to the Des Moines School Board. Gentry told a reporter with Iowa Public Radio that there was a pressing need for such services among low-income families in the community. “There are a lot of youngsters who do not have dental insurance and who have dental issues,” Gentry says. “And so what we try to do is to bring to them the opportunity to get basic dental service.”
PHC will operate the medical clinic which will be open 5 days per week, during the school year, from 10 – 2 to serve students and faculty. The Des Moines School District has plans to provide transportation to the clinic from other area schools for students who need access to dental and medical care. In addition to the medical and nursing staff, the clinic will also be staffed with a benefit and enrollment specialist who will assist students and their families obtain access to insurance coverage.
You can read more about the new dental and medical clinic at this link.
You can also hear more about it on Iowa Public Radio.