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City Heights School Clinics Keep Students Healthy And In Class

Evening Edition

Above: City Height's newest school clinic at Monroe Clark Middle School is helping students get quality health care. School administrators say the effort helps keep attendance levels and academic achievement high because healthy students are more likely to show up to class. That's the case for Andrea Vizcarra, who is getting support for her high blood pressure on campus. She talks with 16-year-old Miguel Vasquez, who produced this video through the Media Arts Center San Diego's Teen Producers Program. Mid-City CAN contributed to the report.

Last week, Speak City Heights reported on how school-based health centers in City Heights are helping undocumented children get the medical care they need. City Heights' four school clinics serve students regardless of their immigration status and provide better followup than emergency rooms, where undocumented patients often go for care.

But the clinics have a much broader goal: to keep all students healthy and in class.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

It's an effort that has been growing under the Affordable Care Act. Shoring up community clinics so they can act as "health homes" for the newly insured is a major component of the law. School clinics are also receiving the added support.

Since the law passed, California school clinics have received more than $30 million. There are about 200 school clinics in the state, with 40 more on the way.

City Heights' newest school clinic is located at Monroe Clark Middle School. It opened in October and has already made an impact on at least one student.

Thirteen-year-old Andrea Vizcarra said she wouldn't know she has high blood pressure if it weren't for the on-campus facility.

"Usually they check your pressure first and it seemed like everything was OK," Vizcarra told teen filmmakers at the Media Arts Center San Diego. "But in the machine it said it was too high. So they had to check it and check it until they were positive I had high blood pressure."

Vizcarra said she hears from clinic staff monthly. They've helped her change her diet and exercise more regularly.

"They said that I found out just in time," Vizcarra said. "I would have had a heart attack in the future or taken pills every single day for the rest of my life."

The Mid-City Community Clinic and La Maestra Community Health Centers operate the clinic, with initial support from The California Endowment and Price Charities. It's open 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and also serves the siblings of students from infancy to 18 years and children from nearby feeder schools.

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