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Grant to fund Round Lake High health center

Updated: January 22, 2013 6:20AM

ROUND LAKE — The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to construct a school-based health center at Round Lake High School that would provide primary care and behavioral health care to the approximately 2,000 students.

The school’s center would be the first in Lake County and one of 59 in the state.

A collaborative effort between the Health Department, District 116 and area health care and social service providers, including Advocate Condell Medical Center, Vista Health System, Mano a Mano Family Resource Center, and Nicasa, it will offer primary and preventive health care services, immunizations, physicals, and disease management for students, especially those with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes, as requested and with parental/legal guardian consent.

The full menu of services will be determined with input from the community. Forums and information sessions are planned for January, and parents, students, staff, and Round Lake Area community members also will have an opportunity to comment through surveys, e-mail and District 116’s Web site through February.

“The SBHC will place health care where the students are, improving access to care,” said Irene Pierce, executive director of the Health Department. “The staff will support students by providing school and sports physicals, acute care, chronic disease management for conditions like asthma, and a safe place to talk about sensitive issues such as depression or family problems. School-based centers historically have helped children stay in school by identifying and addressing health problems that may intervene in the learning process.”

The center will be built as part of a larger construction initiative at the high school. It will not occupy existing classroom space. District 116 will own the newly constructed space and lease it to the health care provider, which will be responsible for staffing and operational costs.

The Health Department will be the primary health care provider, in collaboration with local hospitals and social service agencies.

“We are thrilled to be able to move forward with plans for a school-based health center,” said District 117 Superintendent Constance Collins.

“Our next step is to hear from our students, parents, staff, and community members about how this center can best serve needs. We want to gather as much input as possible to make the most informed decision on behalf of our students, parents, staff and the community.”

Information sessions are set for 10 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 15 and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Round Lake Beach Civic and Cultural Center.

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