Yonkers Public Schools & Montefiore Partner to Bring Students Medical & Mental Health Services -Health Services
May 16, 2021
Yonkers Public Schools and Montefiore School Health Program held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a brand-new comprehensive health center inside Museum School 25 on Tuesday, May 11. Medical, mental, dental, vision and community health services are available to students there and from the neighboring Riverside High School. Appointments are available both in person and virtually and the services are no cost to families.
Community health needs assessments in Yonkers have shown significant need among the 305 prekindergarten through fifth grade students in Museum School 25 and the 940 ninth through twelfth grade students at Riverside High School. A large majority of these students come from economically disadvantaged families, who will benefit greatly from the services available in the clinic, ranging from immunizations and physicals, to treatment and management of acute and chronic illness, such as asthma and diabetes.
Additionally, the mental health services provided by child psychologist, Dr. Erica David, will help children cope with existing social challenges, as well as with healing and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During this pandemic we have seen the need to address the health and mental health of our students. In struggling schools and profoundly impacted communities, the need is even more dire,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “I sponsored legislation creating Community Schools with wraparound services, and applaud the Yonkers school district for this health partnership funded through the New York State Education Department. This historic new Health Center will help ensure the well-being of our children and strengthen their educational prospects as we recover from this pandemic.”
“Access to comprehensive resources beyond the classroom for our students and families anchors many of the Trustees policies,” noted Rev. Steve Lopez, Yonkers Board of Education President, “This partnership with Montefiore personifies our commitment.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada emphasized the significant need for Community Schools, “For a vast majority of our students and families schools are their trusted stable core. Throughout the past year, it was and continues to be evident that there is a greater need for accessible health and behavioral services for students and supports for families. In Yonkers, we embrace equity and access to a broad spectrum of opportunities fostering students’ academic and social emotional growth to achieve their potential. Quality school-based partnerships are essential and we are thrilled to partner with Montefiore to offer comprehensive dynamic healthcare for our students and supports for families.”
State Senator Shelley Mayer said, “The opening of this new school-based health center is an exciting development for our students and their families. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted more than ever the close ties between student attendance, performance, and access to health care for our young people. This state grant, which I supported while in the Assembly, allows Yonkers students to benefit from quality, accessible and affordable health care right in their school building. Congratulations to all who made this possible.”
“Today, more than ever, we recognize the need for reliable, convenient, high quality healthcare services,” said Dr. Rosy Chhabra, Director of the Montefiore School Health Program. “We are delighted to partner with Yonkers school district to open our first school-based health center in Westchester and help to keep children healthy and ready to learn.”
Dr. Andrew Racine, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Montefiore added, “This kind of partnership, between medical providers, school principals, the Superintendent, Board of Education and community and government officials is the future of Yonkers, and the future of this country.”
School-based health centers promote health and educational equity, helping children to avoid health-related absences and foster learning. They are also beneficial for families who can feel confident their child is getting the care they need, where they are – reducing the need for caregivers to take time off work to bring children to medical appointments.
For nearly four decades, the Montefiore School Health Program has been bringing essential healthcare services into school buildings so that students can get the support they need to succeed in the classroom.
The new clinic at Museum School 25 is the first school-based health center run by Montefiore providers in Westchester County, and the fifth school-based health clinic in Yonkers Public Schools. The Montefiore School Health Program is the largest hospital-sponsored program in the country consisting of 32 school-based health centers, providing access to 42,000 students.