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Montefiore School Health Program Participates in School-Based Health Centers Advocacy Day

Montefiore President and CEO, Steven M. Safyer, MD, to receive Visionary for School Health Award

New York City, NY (February 13, 2012) - Representatives from Montefiore's School Health Program, the largest hospital-sponsored school based health center program in the country, will join other members of the Coalition for School-Based Health Centers for an Advocacy Day on February 14, 2012 in Albany. More than 200 Bronx students, parents and teachers will collaborate with other advocates to create awareness, champion funds and request continued support for the program from State legislators. The Advocacy Day will also include an open mike session with students talking about how these centers have impacted their lives.

Steven M. Safyer, MD, President & CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, will receive the organization's Visionary for School Health Award in recognition of his leadership in supporting increased access to prevention, health education and treatment. Peter Semzcuk, Vice President of Clinical Services, will accept the award on his behalf.

"Montefiore's school-based health programs provide comprehensive and integrated medical, mental, dental and community health care to more than 25,000 children in the Bronx," said Dr. Safyer. "The award truly recognizes the dedication and commitment of Montefiore's health care professionals who keep our children healthy, active and engaged in school."

"Dr. Safyer has been a champion for children's health care and has always recognized how crucial the school based health program at Montefiore is in caring for the neediest children in New York," said Kim Urbach, MSN, PNP, New York State Coalition for School-Based Health Centers.

Investing in School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) saves the state money by reducing costly hospitalizations and emergency room visits. A 2005 study conducted by the Montefiore School Health Program found that these centers reduced ER use and hospitalizations by half for asthmatic students. Last year, SBHCs saved the state $3 million in hospital inpatient costs alone for children with asthma.

Since its inception more than 25 years ago, the Montefiore School Health Program has steadily grown to 19 full-service centers in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the borough. With physicians or nurse practitioners and other health care professionals at each site, the centers provide comprehensive primary care services, which include immunizations, physicals, lab testing and treatment of acute illness such as asthma and diabetes. Mental health services focusing on depression, anxiety, bereavement, crisis intervention and family issues are also available at each site. Another important element of this program is preventive health and education, which focuses on improving nutrition, fitness and self-esteem.

The high school centers offer wide-ranging adolescent medical and mental health care, encompassing reproductive health services that provide pregnancy testing and prenatal care, routine gynecological care, family planning, screening, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV counseling and testing.

Many of the locations provide an oral health program as well, which includes dental screening, cleaning, sealants and restorative care.