Offering health care at school makes sense


On Feb. 1, a health center will open in Brooklyn Center High School that will offer students regular dental, physical and mental health care. The 2,300-square-foot clinic, built in former classrooms, will have a dental office, counseling room and four rooms for primary medical care.

This is fantastic news. As Brooklyn Center School District Superintendent Keith Lester told the Star Tribune, “Kids come to school with barriers – dental, mental health, physical or chemical abuse. If you can address those barriers, the kids are much more likely to learn.”

The $260,000 clinic is built in partnership with Park Nicollet Foundation — those students or community members who can’t pay for services will be covered by grants from the Park Nicollet and Pohlad Family foundations.

The Star Tribune noted that dental care is a distinctive feature of the clinic — it is offered by only 10 percent of about 2,000 school clinics nationwide, according to the latest survey by the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care in Washington, D.C.

Lester noted that 72 percent of district students are from low-income families. When Lester learned the area had no community clinic, he offered space at the high school. About a year ago, Park Nicollet agreed to be the major sponsor.

It only makes sense to offer health care services at school. For many students, proper health care can be the difference between success and failure.