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Feds Fund Construction of Health Clinics at Evans

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By Karen Guin

A federal grant has been awarded to build medical and dental clinics for students at the new campus for Evans High School in Orlando.

The grant was awarded to Community Health Centers, Inc., a local nonprofit, and comes after two years of research and planning by the University of Central Florida, Children's Home Society of Florida and Orange County Public Schools. The clinics will be a key component of a community school the three partners are working to establish at Evans.

"We identified Community Health Centers, Inc., as a Federally Qualified Health Center that could secure funding to build the clinics and provide the clinical services," said UCF Center for Community Partnerships Director Nancy Ellis, who helped develop the successful grant proposal. "They submitted a proposal to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' school-based health centers initiative and were awarded $307,325 for the project."

The funds will be used to build and equip a 2,117 square-foot clinic at a new campus for Evans, which is currently under construction. The clinic will include two examination rooms, a dental care facility, a therapy room, a lab and sterilization room, two offices, a conference room, a reception area and waiting room, administrative and storage space, and bathrooms.

The school-based health facility will open at Evans' new campus in August 2012. It will offer medical services Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dental services on Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The facility also will offer students health screenings and sponsor health promotion and disease prevention activities.

"Once the center is established, we anticipate that more half of Evans' 1,900-plus students will be using its services," Ellis said.

Providing students with health care services at school should increase student attendance and improve student performance and achievement.

Community Health Centers currently has 10 neighborhood clinics in Orange and Lake counties and is the largest provider of medical and dental services to uninsured and underserved populations in Central Florida. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, the nonprofit is eligible to receive federal funding for all qualified patients who come to its centers.

For an announcement of the grant funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, see www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/07/20110714a.html.

To learn more about plans for the community school at Evans, see http://news.ucf.edu/UCFnews/index?page=article&id=00240041052a2b5bb012d44907649006a65.

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