A new Student Health Center at Reynolds High School opened Monday, culminating a long-awaited effort to bring much-needed, high-quality primary care and mental health services that are easily accessible and affordable.
The opening was an important step in addressing health care inequities for youth in the Reynolds School District, officials said.
“At a time when health is our highest concern, we look forward to the opening of this Student Health Center to help take care of our children and youth,” Dr. Danna Diaz, Reynolds School District superintendent, said in a news release. “We are thrilled to partner with Multnomah County to bring a Student Health Center to Reynolds High School. We know that if our students are healthy, they can better focus on learning.”
The Reynolds district is home to the largest number of Medicaid-insured youth in Multnomah County, officials said. It is also home to the greatest concentration of youth ages 11-19 without insurance and access to basic health services, such as annual exams and mental health counseling, according to a 2017 report commissioned by the county and a similar report by Health Share of Oregon and the State Adolescent and Student Health unit.
“I am so proud of this partnership that in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Department worked with this school community, our partners and the larger community to open this health center,’’ said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “Our kids have lost so much and have had to adapt to so much, this new Student Health Center will not only provide excellent physical health care, but a safe space where students can talk about their experience with a professional, in-person or virtually.”
The new 2,493-square-foot health center includes four exam rooms, dental hygiene services, mental health counseling and a lab. Staff will provide comprehensive preventative, primary, dental and mental health care for children and youth ages 5-18. And while the new center is geared primarily toward school-age youth living in Reynolds School District, any child or youth living in Multnomah County can receive services.
“This health center will allow students in Reynolds School District and all school-aged students in Multnomah County to access basic health services such as immunizations, lab tests, counseling, and annual exams,” says Alexandra Lowell, Student Health Center Program Manager. “Our focus on access — by being located in schools — and the fact that there is no out-of-pocket cost, make us a great health care option for families, whether or not they have a primary care provider.”
The Student Health Center at Reynolds High School will operate five days a week, offering in-person, phone and video visits. (Thursdays offer virtual appointments only). The center serves students with or without insurance and can help families check if they qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or other insurance.