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Montefiore's School Health Program Celebrates its 15th Year at P.S. 28 in the Bronx

New York City, NY, (June 11, 2009) -- The Montefiore School Health Program celebrated the 15thanniversary of its Health Center at P.S. 28 with music, gardening demonstrations, and testimony by students and parents who have benefited from health center services. The celebration took place on Thursday, June 11 at PS 28, 1861 Anthony Avenue in the Bronx.

The Montefiore School Health Program (MSHP), the largest hospital-sponsored school health program in the country, provides comprehensive medical, dental, mental and community-based services to students and their families in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the Bronx. Since its inception in 1983, this essential program has steadily grown to 16 full-service centers in 38 schools, serving students throughout the borough. Studies have shown that schools with school-based health centers make a significant impact on the health of all of its students when compared to schools without such programs.

Montefiore is celebrating the 15th Anniversary at PS 28 because of PS 28's unique role as the first school to embrace all four components of the Montefiore School Health Program - primary health care, mental health, oral health and community health. Primary care services at PS 28 include physical exams, management of chronic diseases, particularly asthma, immunizations, lab testing, and diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. Mental Health services focus on depression, anxiety, bereavement, crisis intervention and family issues through individual and group counseling. In addition,for the many newly arrived immigrants in the area, the program provides an entree into the school system and much needed social support networks.  Dental services included cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatment and referrals are available on a rotating basis.

MSHP Community Health is a partnership with the school community to improve the overall health environment. After an initial assessment of the food and fitness environment, which revealed the lack of a gymnasium and a limited cooking capacity within the cafeteria, the MSHP engaged the school community which promoted a new program of classroom-based fitness, Moving Smart; the successful citywide 1% milk campaign, classroom and parent cooking classes, and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. In July, the CSA will be recreated as a weekly Farmers Market to be located in Echo Park, across from the school. The MSHP was also instrumental in advocating for an outdoor classroom for gardening and other outdoor learning. The long-term goal is to relocate the outdoor classroom on the rooftop of a promised new gym.

It is because of the strong collaboration between the Montefiore School Health Program and the New York City Department of Education (DOE) that the model of school-based health centers is so successful. Montefiore provides primary care services to the student population while the DOE provides physical space and operational support to enable the rendering of these services. This celebration is also in recognition of the excellent partnership between the DOE and MSHP

Montefiore School Health Program's mission is "To achieve health and well-being in all Bronx public school students through full access to high quality comprehensive primary and preventive health services regardless of ability to pay." In-school health and wellness services are now more important than ever with the rise in obesity, diabetes, asthma, and emotional issues.

Services are age appropriate. The high school centers offer wide-ranging adolescent health care, encompassing reproductive health services that provide pregnancy testing and prenatal care, options counseling, family planning, screening, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV counseling and testing and routine pap tests for sexually active girls. Teen health groups and peer education are also part of the high school program.  Two high school sites have full dental services as well; these sites provide screening, cleaning, sealants and restorative care.

Montefiore is proud of the much needed work it provides in schools, where students are, keeping students in school, healthy and ready for successful school completion.

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