District in San Antonio to Open Health Clinic for Students, Families

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Last week, San Antonio’s (64% Latino) Southside Independent School District dedicated the Susan Hall Community Health Clinic, which will offer care to students, families, staff, and other district members.

This is a big deal for health in the South Side of San Antonio, where residents live 15-20 years less than those on the North Side, according to the 2016 Bexar County Community Health Needs Assessment.

Southside ISD has been in talks with University Health Systems (UHS) to run the clinic and is expected to vote on an agreement at its July 18 board meeting.

Health Needs on South Side

Many low-income families on the South Side lack access health care and health-promotion opportunities:

  • 12.41% of households don’t have a vehicle, compared to 5.49% in Texas;
  • 30.39% of residents over age 25 don’t have a high school diploma, compared to 17.22% in Texas; and
  • 36.82% of Latino children are living in poverty, compared to 22.87% in Texas.

School-based health clinics improve student health, which reduces emergency room visits, according to a Salud America! research review. They also increase school attendance — positively impacting academic achievement, thus life-long health and wellbeing.

That’s why UHS already operates health centers in two other school districts in San Antonio, Harlandale ISD and Southwest ISD.

School-based health center at Collier Elementary School in Harlandale ISD. Source: JERRY LARA / San Antonio Express-News

It’s also why philanthropist Kym Rapier donated $1 million in 2017 to build this health clinic in her late mother’s name, according to the Rivard Report.

“The Susan Hall Community Health Clinic was a dream, and inspired by my Mother, today it is a reality,” Rapier wrote in a letter addressed to the Southside district.

City leaders, county leaders, and district leaders came together to bring this health clinic to the South Side.

Susan Hall Community Health Clinic

Dedicated on June 11, the Susan Hall Community Health Clinic has four exam rooms, a nurses’ station, a laboratory, and two physicians’ offices.

However, the clinic, which is located on Martinez Losoya Road, does not have equipment or staff, yet.

Southside ISD is expected to vote on an agreement to operate the clinic with UHS, with a fall 2019 open date.

This clinic will have a positive impact on those living in Southside, according to district parent and teacher Cindie Cantu.

“I have three sons and there have been times and all three have been sick at the same time so it’s $75 just for a visit so this is going to help us tremendously,” Cantu told Fox 29.

Even more significant, various public officials and private citizens worked to achieve this reality. This healthcare project is one aspect of a broader holistic-wellness conversation San Antionians are having, Southside ISD Superintendent Mark Eads said.

“To hear your families go in there, just to hear the love—it was about the impact it’s gonna have on the future health of other people,” Eads told KENS5.

Local and National Need for Mental Health Support Staff

While this is a step in the right direction, there is a need for greater healthcare access in San Antonio schools.

Across the country, millions of students attend schools with a law enforcement presence but lack a mental health support staff.

Mental health is an important aspect of school-based wellness, as counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists are frequently the first to identify children in facing adversity, such as abuse or food insecurity.

“Schools that employ more school-based mental health providers see improved attendance rates, lower rates of suspension and other disciplinary incidents, lower rates of expulsion, improved academic achievement and career preparation, and improved graduation rates,”  the American Civil Liberties Union states in their recent “Cops and No Councilors” report .

Share this with leaders in your community and push for school-based health and mental health services.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

84

percent

of Latino parents support public funding for afterschool programs.

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