Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 | midnight
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In only its fourth year of service, the Dr. Joel and Carol Bower School Based Health Center at Basic High School has begun reaching out to more of the community, welcoming students from every Henderson school.
Before this year, it focused primarily on students from Basic, B. Mahlon Brown Junior High School and Robert Taylor and C.T. Sewell elementary schools.
With the extended invitation, the center has seen a huge jump in students taking advantage of the services, Donna Hines, program coordinator and a registered nurse, said. In September, 267 students walked through the door. In the same month last year, there were about 180, she said.
Hines runs the center along with medical director Dr. Joel Bower, four nurse practitioners, program director Janet Jones of Nevada State College and receptionist Marie Arroyo.
One of the health center's focuses is on immunizations, an effort that has been recognized. In March, the health center is scheduled to receive the Silver Syringe Award for Excellence from the Immunization Action Coalition, a national organization, for its immunization program.
Four years ago, Hines, her colleague in the Basic High nursing office Yvonne Chaives and then-principal Susan Segal saw the need and helped get the center off the ground.
Chaives, who is still Basic's school nurse, said she heard often from parents that they couldn't get health care when funds were low.
A lot of times, she still will see students who seem to be constantly sick, and the health center allows for a higher level of care than she can provide, she said. It also helps ensure the students are more likely to attend class rather than stay home because they're sick.
"From the school's perspective we thought, wouldn't it be great if we could somehow impact our attendance and keep these kids in school?" Chaives said.
Principals and parents of Henderson children have the option of bringing their student at any time during office hours. Most of the care is offered for free to children with no or limited insurance because of grants from Henderson and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.
School physicals cost $20.
"Our nurse practitioners are just awesome because they treat the whole kid, not just the problem," Hines said. "They can come down here, we can treat them, and they go back to school."
Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].